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JUN2 7I& 

JAN 1'^ \m 

m 2 2 J99I 

OF- - 

SEP 2 



L161— O-1096 



9 IRomance* 



LuciAN, 'EjrjcrxoTreyTic^ 

1 wUhed not merely to set ciiks and voods at one can $ce them in toap5> 
%ut mcst, and v\ai ihey do, a.nd uhat tluy say. 

VOL. Ill, 




Printed by G.WooDtAi.1., 






The evening was dark and gloomy, An- 
gellini and the principal inquisitor were 
seated over a dim fire of wood embers, 
in a remote part of that vast structure, 
it was a lone detached turret, against 
M'hich the dark waves of the autumnal 
sea were tossing. They talked of dis- 
astrous tales, of events known only to 
the agents of the Inquisition, such as 
made their prisons seem the abode of 
more crimes and miseries than the day 
ever looked on, when the inquisitor 
VOL. III. B re- 

2 FATAL revenge; on, 

requested Angelliiii again to repeat to 
him the extraordinary circumstances of 
the confession of Montorio. *' I have 
not," said Angellini ^' all the papers in 
til is closet, but one single perusal of 
them has made so deep an impression 
on me, that I can easily Continue the 
narrative, where the manuscript is defi- 
cient." They examined and secured the 
doors, and Angellini depressing his voice, 
proceeded thus : — 

It was about the middle of last summer, 
that Count Ippolito was returning from an 
evening excursion on the shore of Naples. 
He arrived at his palace, and was about to 
enter the portico, when a stranger, whose 
figure and aspect were concealed by the 
swiftness of his motion, said to him in a 
low voice, *' Signor, has your riativity 
et'er been calculated ?'' Ippolito started, 
— the inquisitor was out of sight. The 
servants declared they had seen no form, 
6 and 


and heard no voice. Most would have 
regarded or remembered this circum- 
stance, as merely exciting temporary 
surprise or curiosity ; but the words of 
tlie figure contained an appeal to Ippo- 
lito's favourite science, and that appeal 
was irresistible. That evening he was 
engaged to an assembly at the Alberotti 
palace ; the images of expected gaiety, 
liad almost banished other musings, and 
he was ascending the steps of the palace,- 
when he was entangled in a dispute be- 
tween two cavaliers. In the crowd, he 
observed a person who stood without 
any motion or share in the disturbance. 
Ippolito's eye was fixed on him by this 
circumstance, and a moment's glance of 
his quick eye discovered the person who 
had that night addressed him. He turned 
eagerly on him ; but the stranger, an- 
ticipating the movement, turned on hiniy 
whispered, "Signor, remember my ques- 
tion/' and was lost in the crowd. At 
B 2 the 


the assembly, Montorio was absent and 
dejected — be quitted it early, and re- 
turned home. The door of the carriage, 
in which Montorio vv^as leaning back 
musingly, was thrown open by the ser- 
vants, who were bowing with Italian 
obsequiousness as they waited for him 
to alight, when a face was suddenly 
thrust in at the opposite side, and that 
voice, of which the first sound could 
never be forgotten, repeated, ^' Signor, 
answer my question." Then Ippolito, 
alarmed and incensed, sprung from Iiis 
carriage, and calling to his domestics, 
endeavoured to pursue his tormentor. 
Every direction was explored in vain. 
The unknown appeared to have commu- 
nion with the powers of earth or air, and 
to be aided by them in his movements. 
Montorio, on his return to the palace, 
gave signs of that perturbation and alarm 
which had so terrified his page, who had 
not accompanied him. — (Of this young 



person, Afontorio speaks with strong af- 
fection ; what may be his endowments 
and virtues, I know not ; but their 
friendship is as tender as that of brothers, 
and among his own calamities, Montorio 
enumerates the distress of his page for 
his disastrous fate.) 

His perturbation, however, proceeded 
not from fear, but from disappointment 
and curiosity ; disappointment, which 
had even mortified his pride ; and curio- 
sity, whose pampered appetite had met 
its first repulse. That day was spent in 
vain search, at night he found the fol- 
lowing billet on his table : — '* Montorio, 
do you remember the person who ques- 
tioned you last night? are you interest- 
ed in the inquiry he made? would you 
venture to know and to explore it ? Thea 
meet him, but meet him without mis- 
trust or futile preparations, in the church 
of San Piero, in the north aisle, behind 
the fourth pillar from the confessional, 



when vespers are over, and the congre- 
gation dispersing. Vou may sec liim 
if you will ; you may confer with him 
if you dare." The letter was anonymous, 
and the hand unknown. Whether Mon- 
torio would have neglected the appeal it 
contained to his curiosity, that, in the 
last line, to his courage, was perem])tory ; 
and he repaired to vespers with the min- 
gled satisfaction of feeding his curiosity, 
and exerting his fortitude. The church 
was lonely and remote — he dismissed his 
attendants, and paced the aisle almost in 
solitude, — the service was nearly over ; — 
through a narrow door he caught a view 
of the service, and of the priests as they 
bowed round the high altar with the im* 
posing solemnity of public worship : — a 
pause followed — and the organ burst forth, 
accompanied v/ith the loud and deep 
chaun tings of the monks, and mingled 
with them came the toll of a bell that 
called them to service in another part of 


the convent. Ippolito listened, touched 
and subdued ; but endeavouring to shake 
off an impression which he felt to be 
merely local, he examined the congre- 
gation as they dispersed, and from time 
to time turned to the pillar, toward 
which he momently expected some one 
of them to glide. No one approached 
it, all had departed, and to the noise 
and stir of their departure had succeeded 
the solitary passing steps of the monks 
and attendants of the church. Vexed 
and impatient, Ippolito again turned to 
the pillar, and thought he could observe 
a deeper shade than it had before pro- 
jected round its base. lie advanced — a 
figure stood in the shade erect, motion- 
less, and almost appearing a part of the 
column. Amid the joy of this discovery, 
^Jontorio could not avoid recollecting, 
that no person, since his entering the 
aisle, had visibly approached that sj)ot. 
He ad\anced; purposing to address the 



fiii'ure, but its unmoved and utter still- 
ness repelled him. He passed close to it, 
and fixed his eyes intently on it ;— the 
habit was that of a man, but dark and 
contused, the stature tall, the face con- 
cealed. Montoria passed and repassed 
him, pausing e?xh time, but without 
obtaining the smallest notice, or indica- 
tion that the figure he beheld had sense 
or life. Convinced, at ^ength, that his 
silence was stubborn and affected, I\Ion- 
torio making a full stop, addressed him 
in a low, but resolute tone — '' You have 
summoned me here; what would you 
have with me?" — *' Nothing," replied 
the ligure, in those tones with which, 
though heard so lately, he was v/ell ac- 
quainted. "Why, then, was I brought 
here? Do you know aught concerning 
nie ?"' — " Everything," replied the stran- 
ger. ** Speak, then," said Montorio, 
'' I am here," and he rested on his 
-:word. *' I have not power — I am now 



as other men, — I am weak as a broken 
wave ; but the hour cometh that has in 
it the force of unutterable things, and I 
await it awed and still.''—" Why was I 
then brought here?" — '* Like me yoa 
must await that hour, like me you must 
be borne on l)y it in dreadful subjiis- 
sion , — when it arrives you shall hear 
from me." — " I will not leave this church 
unsatisfied,*' said Montorio impetuously; 
** whatever you are, or wizaid, or im- 
postor, I will know before 1 (\u\t you ; 
remember the mockery of la^t night " 
The figure glided away — Ippoli to eagerly 
followed. It entered the confessional, 
where the prior sat engaged in the holy ser- 
vice of the place, and he determined even 
to wait its termination, in order to seeth.e 
stranger again. This resolurion his im- 
patience rendered intolera!)ly tedious; 
he remained in the aisle, counrmg the 
moments, and expecting at the lapse of 
each to see the unknown issue from the 
confessional, when with astonishment he 
B 3 beheld 


beheld departing from it only the prior, 
^vho quitted it with the air of a man 
engaged in sohtary prayer. Montorio, 
in astonishment, now addressed one of 
the monks Avho was passing: *' Is it 
usual," said he, *' for penitents to re- 
main in the confessional of S. Piero, after 
the confessor has quitted it?" The monk 
beheld him with surprise. *' I have but 
now," he eagerly explained, *' beheld a 
person enter the confessional; I waited 
the end of his confession, and now .1 see 
the prior quit his seat alone." — *' You 
are deceived, Cavalier," said t\e monk; 
*' I myself saw the last penitent this 
evening quit the confessional, and after- 
wards the church : it is the devout cus- 
tom of our superior to continue some 
time in solitary prayer, after his penitents 
depart, and this necessarily implies he 
must have been alone." Montorio, hope- 
less of giving conviction tO; the mind of 
another, while his own was oppressed by 



perplexity, yet endeavoured to explain 
M^iat he was assured he had beheld, when 
the prior, whose attention, as he passed 
though the aisle, was arrested by his 
gestures and exclamations, paused, aud^ 
said, ** There is no penitent in the con* 
fessional, Cavalier, nor has been since* 
the conclusion of mass." — ** Pteverend 
Father, pardon my impatience," replied^ 
Montorio, '^ I have reasons for examin- 
ing this affair— reasons peculiar and im- 
portant. Immersed as you were in the 
considerationof divine things, you might 
not have heard the entrance of him wha 
is now lurking in the confessional; per- 
mit it but to be examined, and I shall 
depart happy, if even convinced and 
pardoned for my misconceptions." — *^ I 
should not hesitate to reject your peti- 
tion," said the prior, *^ if I thought any 
person was concealed there, for penitence 
.should be as sacred as devotion ; but I 
comply, because I know there is not." 


12 FATAL revenge; OR, 

The door of the inclosure, where the pe- 
nitent kneels, was then thrown open, 
and it was empty. Montorio, after some 
apologies, which his confusion rendered 
inarticulate, retired, and passed the rest 
of the evening in fruitless attempts to 
hide his solicitude from himself by dis- 
sipation ; he returned home, perplexed 
and disappointed : but his visitor had 
anticipated him. The following letter 
was on his table : 

'* Thou wast not prepared, nor was I,, 
for this night's meeting. But why seek 
to pierce my retreat ? When I would be^ 
I am invisible, and where I would be, I 
am present. I mock at the means and 
power of man ; I am alone in the Morld, 
yet I move in its paths, and mix in its 
agency. Again, I walk with man side 
by side, day after day ; yet I am in utter 
solitude, for no man knows me; my 
presence is not seen, but felt ; my mo- 
tion casts no shadow, but the substance 



is there. From detection and pursuit, I 
stand aloof in dreadful immunity ; pur- 
sue me not, therefore, but meet me, 
when summoned, and when we meet, 
ask not, but listen. To-morrow, at mid- 
night, there will be a funeral in the 
church of the convent S. Antonio ; be 
there, and I will appear to thee. Dost 
thou tremble at the taper and the bell, 
the corpse and the shroud ? If thou 
canst meet me, fear not to meet the 

ippolito, by this letter, was fully con- 
firmed in his pursuit of this strange be- 
ing ; all the irregular desires wliich had 
fed his fancy with temporary food, were 
now exchanged for a distinct and defi- 
nite object, whose pursuit interested 
more feelings than those of curiosity, 
and whose attainment promised more 
than their gratification. At midnignt 
he went to the church of S. Antonio ; 
it was the funeral of a person of rank, 



many of the laity attended with eccle- 
siastics. The melancholy pomp of mid- 
night worship was deepened by every 
circumstance which the genius of our 
churchy and the policy of her ministry, 
apply so successfully to the enthralment 
of weak, and the local captivation of 
even strong minds. The bells tolled at 
measured intervals ; the masses perform- 
ed at the diiferent altars, mixed their 
deeper tones with the audible and fervent 
aspirations of the devotees; the tapers 
poured a pale and steady light on the 
tonsured heads, the dark drapery, and 
the sepulchral faces of the monks ; and 
here and there disclosed a ghostly figure, 
that knelt and wept before their patron's 
shrine, while the torches poured a blaze, 
yellov\% and broad, and bickering, on the 
stronger features of the structure; the 
dark recesses of the cloisters, the dim 
imagery of the roof, w^indows, whose 
burnished picturing^ blazed and disap>- 



peared in the waving light, and walls 
obscurely traced with flourishes and in- 
scriptions, the achievements of forgotten 
wortii, and the memorials of departed 
superstition. Though there was a crowd, 
110 one felt the cheering effect of human 
presence, each was to himself, solitary 
and subdued ; all communication was in 
whispers, and even that was involunta- 
rily suspended at the low, tremulous tones 
of the organ, and the first, faint, distant 
chaunt of the monks, that rose with it, 
a flow of solemn and undistinguished 

Ippolito, in a remote part of the church, 
stood with recollected feeling, which the 
genei'al awe deepened, but did not divide. 
It was his fate at these meetings to be 
suddenly encountered by him he was 
watching to see ; for, as he looked around 
him, he felt his cloak touched by a per- 
son, who passed on without speaking. 
Montorio, with momentary conviction 


IB FATAL revenge; OR, 

of the identity of the person, followed 
him. They quitted the church, and 
traversed many aisles and passages of the 
convent, with which his silent conductor 
seemed perfectly acquainted ; they seem- 
ed to have at length got beyond the 
reach and sound of the human inmates 
of those walls ; their single and measured 
steps had succeeded to the deep murmur 
of the church, and to its illuminated 
walls the pale and solitary lamp that 
partly lit the passage, which to Ippolito 
seemed endless. They now descended 
several steps, and reached a door, low, 
and apparently leading to some subter- 
raneous apartment. It opened at the 
stranger's touch ; but Ippolito half re- 
ceded when he saw the dark stairs be- 
neath, that dimly lit, and, winding 
beyond his sight, seemed to hold com- 
munication with the receptacles of the 
dead. The stranger beckoned—Ippolito 
paused ; — the stranger beckoned again — > 



then Ippolito spoke with firmness : — 
'* 'W^hoever you are, wherever you are 
leading, do not tempt inevitable danger: 
fraud I will detect, and force I can re- 
sist ; my arm is as strong as yours, and 
my sword is by my side." The stranger 
turned, and, for the first time, partially 
uncovering his face, fixed on Montorio 
a look of melancholy conviction, of 
"which, as of all his looks and movements, 
the effect was resistless ; it seemed to 
conxey a depth of knowledge, and com- 
passion for some foreseen and inevitable 
evil, such as could be attained or com- 
municated by no creature of limited and 
earthly powers. I\Iontorio, silently sub- 
dued by that look, followed him down 
the descent, with an obscure but intimate 
sense ot influence that could not be re« 
pelled, and of evil that could not be 
averted : it led to the vaults of the con- 
vent. They wandered for some time among 
those dreary passages in silence, till they 



saw a stiongcr light in the vault than 
what issued from the damp and misty 
lamps which twinkled through shade 
and vapour ; it proceeded from torches, 
which burned in a new opened vault, 
opened for him whose funeral was cele- 
brated tliat night ; around it stood some 
assistants, w^lio were waiting for the 
corpse, and on M'hose dark habits and. 
rugged visages the torches threw a yel- 
low and smoky glare, that terrified ima- 
gination to find a resemblance for. The 
stranger started from their view, and 
lighting some concealed preparation at a 
lamp which hung from the low arch, en- 
tered another passage, v/hich, but for 
that faint light, was utterly dark. Mon- 
torio, who liad no longer the power of 
retreating, followed, — the stranger turn- 
ed ; — his aspect was melancholy, but not 
ghastly ; his voice hollow, but not ter- 
rible : — he paused ; — the echoes of a 
clock, that struck one, were heard dis- 


tinctlvfrom the cloisters above. ** It is 
the hour," said the stranger, *' and dost 
thou dread to meet it ?" Montorio, whose 
courage was inflamed by impatience, 
motioned onward; — they proceeded;- — 
the stranger turned again, anclsomething 
like human feeling was in his melancholy 
eye. *' Yonder is thy fate, and dost 
thou shrink to behold it?" The noble 
disdain that flushed from Ippolito's eyes 
was his only answer. They turned a dark 
angle in the vault, and his conductor, 
in muffling the lamp he carried, let its 
light fall on a bier, where lay the body 
of a man, suspected of murder, but who 
had died in prison under the terrors of 
his expected fate. Montorio approached; 
the event and the person had been 
known to him ; he looked up — he read 
a dreadful interpretation in the gesture 
and expression of his companion, Avho 
gtood over the bier, embodying in his look 
all \vc conceive of those instruments, who 

so FATAL revenge; OR, 

are said to prompt the crimes they pre^ 
diet ; to realize uncertain evil by the 
suggestions of supposed necessity ; to 
breathe the first thought of blood into 
the predestined murderer, and lead the 
devoted mind, through the horrors of 
anticipated guilt, to the daring abandon- 
ment, the convulsive energy, tlie high 
wound and horrid pitch of determined 
distraction. Montorio shivered ; the in- 
fluence of his habitual pursuit became in 
one moment serious and painful, he en- 
deavoured to wrest his mind from its 
hold ; he could not ; and while he, yet 
struggled to reason himself out of invo- 
luntary o])pression, the light disappeared, 
and its mysterious bearer was seen no 
more. Left in darkness and amonii: the 
dead, a new ol)jcct of fear succeeded ; 
he called to his companion, he stretched 
out his arms in the direction where he 
had stood, and recollecting the dimen- 
sions of that part of the vault, he felt 



with the most accurate search every 
quarter that his hands or his sword 
could reach, — in vain ; he encountered 
no object, he heard no sound, and was 
only recalled from his dream of pursuit 
hy the entrance of the attendants with 
the corpse, into another part of the 
vault; the light directed him to them, 
and he eagerly inquired if his companion 
had been seen by any of them, addipg 
the closest description that fear and haste 
permitted him to give. The men stared 
with astonishment; and on his urging 
the inquiry, averred with one voice that 
no human being had that night visibly 
entered the vault but themselves. " Did 
he render me, as well as himself, invi- 
sible ?" thought Montorio, as he returned 
amazed and unsatisfied. 

A letter, in the hand writing he now 
well knew, was again left in his apart- 
ment. *' Your probation is over; you 
are without fear and without weakness ; 
• you 


may command my power and knowledge 
to their extent, beyond the reach of na- 
ture and thought, beyond the dream of 
enthusiasm, even in the wild and wish- 
ing hour you may command them. May^ 
have I said? alas! you juust command 
them. Mine is no voluntary service. 
Oh, that worlds might purchase my ex- 
emption ! But they cannot ; and when 
worlds shall end, my task will have but 
begun. As little voluntary is the spirit 
of inquiry that now impels you, and 
whose impulses you believe to be casual 
and f\QQ. Would you know more ? I 
have no longer a right to conceal aught 
from you ; then be in the west colonnade 
of tlie church of S. Piero, with no arms 
but fortitude, no companion but mid- 
night; and when the bell shall toll, I 
will stand beside thee." In the intervals 
of these summonses, Montorio had often 
inquired into the means by which they 
were conveyed into his room ; the do- 


mcstics, on examining them, declared 
no sucli had been left at the palace, or 
given to them for their master ; but when 
dismissed, after a fruitless inquiry, they 
talked much among themselves of a per- 
son that was frequently seen in their mas- 
ter's apartment, and who, it was said, 
disappeared when any one entered it. By 
this account, if he was more perplexed, 
he was yet more excited, and he awaited 
with impatience the appointed hour; it 
arrived — he hastened to the church of 
S. Piero ; it was a clear and lovely night, 
the moon fleckered the columns with 
streaks of silver, and gave a more thin 
and pointed brightness to the wrought 
edges and tracery of the pediments and 
friezes. Montorio at every turn exa- 
mined his watch, and with a beating 
heart and suppressed breath, perceived 

it wanted but a moment of twelve. 

Now it struck, and the stranger stood 
beside him. *' Are you prepared ?" said 


84 FATAL revenge; or, 

he, in a low but firm tone. *' It is 
Ippolito di Montorio to whom you speak, 
there needs no other answer," said Mon- 
torio proudly. ** Youth," said the stran- 
ger, lay aside these weapons of fleshly 
warfare ; where you are called to contend, 
pride of soul and force of arm avail not ; 
lay them aside, with the sword and the 
dagger, the strength of flesh, and the arms 
of mortality; take with you only fortitude, 
that will shut out light witlibut a sigh, 
and firmness that will bear to behold 
what it must bear to undergo." A voice 
issuing from the grave could not have 
delivered this monition in more chilling 
tones; Montorio felt their influence in 
every nerve, and followed his conductor 
with an awe which preserved his curiosity 
from levity, and divested his expectatioja 
of impatience. 

They went on with silent speed, but 
the stranger sometimes paused, and look- 
ed upward, and Montorio once thought 
4 he 


he beheld a tear in his eye as he raised it. 
They reached a remote and unfrequented 
part of the city ; they stopped ; the 
stranger seemed shaken with many emo- 
tions, there was no local cause for them; 
the quiet loneliness of the place ; the 
moon, that seemed stationary for very 
brightness ; the sea, whose checkered 
and sparkling waters just rose to the eye, 
and whose murmurs rose and fell with 
lulling measure, all seemed to speak peace 
to the spirit that had one peaceful ele- 
ment. '^ Oh, youth!" said the stranger, 
''the hour is come; thou, or I, may 
shun it no longer ; and these struggles, 
these cold drops of inward agony, are 
for thee. The hour is come ; and amidst 
a power that rules or reverses nature, I 
am as a worm of the dust, a thing of 
nought, confounded and dismayed. Oh, 
youth ! it is for thee I have prayed that 
this task might not be mine ; but he, 
whose hand hath made the thunder, will 
VOL. III. c consign 

2,6 FATAL revenge; OK, 

consign it to whom be will, and he must 
wield it, though its fires blast him." — 
** By whatever power you act," said Ip- 
polito, ^'you have excited in me wonder 
and amazement ; hasten, therefore, that 
I may know whether I am not, as often, 
the dupe of a vicious sensibility of the 
marvellous, or whether these impressions 
are, indeed, the movements and intima- 
tions of my fate." The stranger produced 
a bandage — *' With this," said he, *'your 
eyes must be bound; and take with it a 
caution, whatever you may see or hear, 
be silent, be motionless, and be fearless." 
Montorio suffered him to fasten the ban- 
dage, and was then conducted by him 
through many ways, of which he in vain 
tasked himself to remember the direction. 
They now ceased to tread on the pave- 
ment, and Montorio felt, from the change 
of air, that they were in some building ; 
in a short time they began to descend 
steps; as they descended, the air changed 



again, but it was the chillness of subter- 
raueaii damps ; the echoes were dull and 
protracted, and no longer mixed with 
those sounds of life which they had heard 
in the open air. The descent seemed to 
be endless. Ippolito in vain tried to 
appease the irksomeness of involuntary 
blindness, and perhaps otlier unwelcome 
feelings, by reckoning the steps. Tlie 
echoes became more hollow, the damps 
more dewy, and IMontorio felt that even 
the misty and impalpable light that the 
bandage had not utterly denied him, 
was now obscured by intense darkness. 
He had often spoke, but received no 
answer, and now grew weary of the 
echoes of his own voice, unmixed as they 
were with any other sound, and giving 
an idea of utter solitude, which he was 
almost glad to recur to the pressure of 
his arm, and the sound of his conductor's 
steps, to repel. An hour had now elapsed 
since they left the liaunts of men, and 
e S IMontorio 


Montorio almost imagined this passage 
was intended to penetrate below the bot- 
tom of ocean, when he felt himself 
checked by the hand which led him. A 
sound th^en succeeded, which was so mul- 
tiplied by the echoes of the place, that 
its distinctness was lost, and he found 
himself in a moment descending, with 
a swiftness so rapid, so breathless, so 
astounding, that he sickened with very 
giddiness, and gasped for the recovery 
of sense; — the motion ceased — he knew 
not how he had descended : he was a^ain 
led forward ; many sounds met him in his 
passage ; some descended from above, 
and some brushed near him ; blasts of 
different airs crossed him, some so hot, 
they felt like floods of flame, some so 
cold, he shivered in their parching blight. 
A sound, as of the ocean in its strength, 
was then heard ; it came nearer and 
louder, and Ippolito almost expected to 
feel its waters beaiing np his feet. All 



sound and motion then ceased, and he 
felt himself slowly invested in a garb, of 
which tlie form seemed to be unlike any 
usually worn ; his hands were unrestrain- 
ed ; he examined the garb with them — 
it was the garb of the dead. But this 
>v'as no time for resistance, and he be- 
lieved his only means of safety was the 
observance of the slrano-er's caution: 
prudence was for once combined with his 
courage, and he remained silent. A voice 
then, deep and distant, repeated the ser*- 
vice of the dead; the responses were 
echoed by multiplied myriads of voices; 
Montorio heard the soleum words pro- 
nounced over him, which no living man 
hears ; he felt the shroud and the cru- 
cifix, he heard the bell and the requiem ; 
he remembered his conductor's v.ords, 
and expected to see the light no more, 
when his bandage was dissolved, and he 
was luirried forward. 

What objects or circunistances he 
witnessed there, he has not told ; 


30 FATAL revenge"; oh, 

whatever intimations are given of them, 
are casual and obscure, extorted by 
a sudden exclamation of pain, or in- 
volved in the train of other confes- 
sions, but from such intimations I be- 
lieve them to be of a nature too hor- 
rible to be told ; what I have learned has 
been principally collected from letters 
which passed betv/een him and the 
stranger, and of v/hich I have copies ; 
at these n^eetings, it sliould appear no 
vv'ord was uttered, and whatever required 
explanation or discussion produced a 
letter, which was, as usual, left in his 
apartments, by means none could dis- 
cover. Of the first of these the contents 
are as follows : 

Letter from the Stranger, 

*' What can dispel your suspicions ? 
What can obviate your doubts ? You 
liave already had every assurance I am 
no pretender^ that I seek neither ag- 



grandizeinent nor influence, that I am 
unanxious the impressions you receive 
should convey any tiling to you but a 
conviction of the genuineness of their 
cause and object; for myself this is su- 
perfluouS; I need neither consciousness 
nor proof of my commission. Ages have 
I strove in vain to lose the dreadful 
sense of it ; it is on you I seek to make 
a single impression — that I am the cer- 
tain and commissioned organ of your 
fate, that I bear a power and office, 
which I must neither decline nor qualify, 
which you may neither resist nor change. 
Recollect how you have complained of 
the rapacity of former pretenders, 
wretches, whose mercenary ignorance 
blasphemes the awful name and objects 
of the other world, (whose visitation 
often and judicially punishes their pre- 
sumption, by the infliction of madness 
and idiotcy, the natural extremes of a 
brai^i overwrought with gloomy and 


32 FATAL revenge; OR, 

cumbrous contemplations,) and whose 
ijuaint fooleries are as easily detected as 
their needy avidity. What has been my 
pursuit of you ? What have been my 
claims on you ? The very dreadful in- 
struments of our preparation, the form 
and circumstance of our meeting, are 
such as human hands could not collect 
without toil and pain, if you can indeed 
believe them to have been the collection 
of human hands ; and what demands 
have been made, but on your acquies- 
cence and conviction. Here is a proof, a 
native and intrinsic proof of the reality 
of my office and power, which no sober 
mind can well gainsay, that a number of 
beings should conspire to condemn them- 
selves to toil, and pain, and horror, un- 
excited, unsolicited, unrewarded, merely 
to persecute and perplex another being, 
over whom they seek no other influence, 
and who can neither punish nor please 
them, is an outrage to the credulity of 



even a IMontorlo. Again, an impostor 
might perhaps stimulate your feelings 
by artiticial and well-measured delay, but 
he would beware of protracting this be- 
yond its due term of operation, of suf- 
fering solicitude to fret itself into im- 
patience ; but he whose power is beyond 
and unswayed by himself, must await its > 
ebbs and its flows, the rush of its ap- 
proach, and the lingerings of its sus- 
pension, in passive expectancy, hushed 
and still. Do you remember last night? 
jNIany times have you trodden that place, 
which only your own human feet have 
ever entered ; before you had been even -^ 
summoned there, I told you I could 
foreshew every event of your life, yet- 
even yet — I have not tlie power to de- 
clare it. How many nights have now 
witnessed those unuttered and terrible 
things, which once obtained a know- 
ledge and potency for me, now inscru-. 
tably withheld. Last night, moved by. 
c3 the.-. 

34 FATAL revexge; or, 

the -clanger to which your impetuosity 
opposed you from my ministers, (whose 
services I command, though I cannot 
repress their power or mahgnity,) I had 
recourse to those deep and dreadful 
extremes, which I once believed no hu- 
man cause could demand the use of, or 
no mortal ^yitness ; but in vain, the 
master-agent of our movements would 
not be tasked : the earthquake, the 
whirlwind, and the fire were there, but 
he was not there. I wrestled with these 
terrible engines of his coming, I writhed 
in convulsed and fervent agony, and 
were mine the life of nature, the strug- 
gles of last night had ended it. It was 
in vain you departed with rage and im- 
precations t'lat you would return no 
more. Was this then voluntary and 
artificial ? An agent, whose power and 
movements are his own, exerts them 
without producing any effect, but fruit- 
less toil and angry disappointment ! ! ! 



Is this credible ? I collect these cir- 
cumstances that they may certify to 
you, what the levity of your mind, 
and your experience of repeated im- 
position, lend to conceal, or render in- 
different to you ; that my power and 
commission are extrinsic, are involun- 
tary, and are real." 

To this, only part of Ippolito's answer 
appears: "Whatever was the complexion 
of my mind, when I formerly pursued 
similar objects, it is now totall}^ changed ; 
though ever grasping at the secrets of 
another state, and pursuing their at- 
tainment under eveiy form and colour 
of probability, I recollect rather feeling 
towards them expectation than belief, 
rather seeking to discover, if they were 
really within mortal reach and capacity, 
than seeking them, because they v/ere. 

** I think I recollect seeking to these 
professors, and awaiting their fantastic 
exhibitions, in a mixed and not un- 


36 FATAL revenge; ok, 

pleasing state of suspension, where the 
awful solicitude, from which no mortal 
is exempt, was tempered by the natural 
jealousy of deception, by the experience 
of disappointment and imposition, and 
above all, by tlie native and inherent 
scepticism of negative e.vperiencej which 
is perhaps the only balance that renders 
the terrors of such expectation support- 
able, and even grateful. I was, there- 
fore unconsciously prepared for every 
event of such meetings, and I at- 
tended them with a fortitude, in the 
cause of which many deceive them- 
selves. I had curiositv to excite me 
in the pursuit, and possibly to suppoiit 
me, had it been successful; I had vigi- 
lance, taught by experience, to scruti- 
nize into imposition, and I had a shade 
of levity over my mind^ the offspring of 
natural and involuntary incredulity, 
which disposed me to laugh at detected 
folly and fraud, with the same facility 



\vith which I would have shuddered at 
the terrible discoveries th.e other event 
of the nieetiiio-. would have prepared for 
me : above all, M'hen I had received any 
ii]ij>ression from the strange objects 
which some of them were able to sumr 
liion or to create, I examined and sifted 
it witli a tenacity, of wlvich probably 
the motive was curiosity, but of which 
the end was uniformly the discovery of 
deception, of the force of local emotion, 
or of the assemblage of fearful or un- 
wonted imagery. Thus, therefore, I con- 
tinued to pursue it, hopeless of attaining 
success or certainty in tlie original ob- 
ject of my search, yet gratifying an 
appetite for the marvellous, which re- 
peated indulgence had rendered restless, 
and fastidious, and insatiable, and af 
which the sensation resembled that 
which urges us to the theatre, where 
we gaze, delighted by vision and sound, 
but not deceived into reality* 


38 FATAL revenge; on, 

From tny first conference with you, the 
frame of my mind was totally altered ; 
the severity, the simphcity, the higli 
and remote modes of language and ac- 
tion I witnessed, struck me with a com- 
plicated feeling of fear and confidence, 
of wild joy and supernatural dread I can- 
not describe : all I saw was unlike all I 
had before seen. Insteadof being mocked 
by fantastic jargon, I was restrained by 
solemn silence ; instead of being plun- 
dered with vulgar rapacity, I was taught 
that all human infiuence, whether of force 
or of insinuation, v/as nugatory there ; 
instead of commanding, I was com- 
manded, and tliat by an influence view- 
less, and impassive, and unsearchable. 
Of all this, the effect has been the irri- 
tation of my feelings, almost to madness, 
the inflammation of my curiosity to a 
pitch and point, which 1 believe nothing 
but its very strength and vivid force 
enables me to endure. By all this ter- 


rible preparation, a weak mind might 
have been depressed and subjected, and 
have rdinqiiislied its object rather than 
encounter the horrors that invested it ; 
but mine is an elastic one, and it rises 
v»qth a force and spring proportioned to 
tlie pressure it has been urged by, 1 feel 
all subordinate desires and objects ab- 
sorbed by one — the desiie to obtain that 
long-withheki and mysteiious something, 
which I seize with such a comprehensive 
grasp of expectancy, that it has no dis- 
tinctness of form or name in my thoughts 
■ — the dcbire to knovv^ all vou can (lis- 
close, or cause me to know. It utterly 
absorbs me; I cease to inquire into the 
truth or evidences of your commission or 
pretensions ; you are anxious to press 
their examination on me — I am indif- 
ferent to them. AVere it proved to me 
this moment that you were an impostor, 
that all I had witnessed was the very 
fooling of my fear, I would still pursue 


40 FATAL revenge; or, 

you M'ith unabated anxiousness, to sup- 
ph^ my feelings with tl)at food for which 
their appetence is famishingan^ delirious.- 
Talk no more of delays and proofs, and 
the cold exercise of my faculties ; I tell 
you I am mad— mad, till I am gratiiied ! 
By what means you have attained this 
influence, I know not ; perlia'ps it is p* 
part of that strange, power you say is 
forced on you ; hut exert it no longer to 
torture — I am miserable — my day and 
nigljt are one delirious dream ; my burn-, 
ing eyes have not tasted sleep for many 
davs : the in)ao:es of the,nio;ht are ever 
around me: often I sndte my arms and 
breast, and rend out Imndfuls of my 
hair to deaden or distract that pain^ 
whose gnawing and hery keenness seems 
to survive all change of time, and place^ 
and motion, to sting me in my broken 
sleep, and live through every hour of 
life. Have m.ercy on me ! If you can 
do any thing, do it, and let me have 
exijse. Montorio." 

6 Many 


Many such letters appear to have 
passed between tliem, most of M'hick 
contain repetitions of what I have 
now read : on the one side claims 
to some undescribed and mysterious 
power, of which all direct proof was, 
however, withheld, and on the other a^ 
continuance of complaint, and entreaty^ 
and remonstrance. Whether relief was 
delayed, because it was out of the power 
of the stranger to bestow it, or suspended^ 
because he judged suspension would an- 
swer his purpose better, it is certain that 
purpose was fully attained. Montorio's 
mind was wrought to an intense and 
desperate state of feeling ; aM thoughts, 
and passions, and objects were swallowed 
np by one ; his whole day was passed in 
obscure expectation of the events of the 
night, the nigiit in disappointment of 
that expectation, and the following day 
in the renewal of that dark and feverish 
.bope, which, while it tormented his ex- 


42 FATAL revenge; or, 

istence, seemed to constitute the very 
principle and spring of it. I have very 
imperfect documents of these melancholy 
times; but it should seem that one niglit 
Montorio contrived to signify to his con- 
ductor, that his mind was burdened with 
many things, which haste and confusion 
would prevent him from committing to 
paper; that he was anxious to discuss 
them in a personal conference ; and that 
if the stranger owned the power he pro- 
fessed, he could indulge him with that 
conference under hours and circum- 
stances that would prevent the possibiHty 
of intrusion or discovery. ** I will go," 
answered the stranger, '* because your 
importunity proceeds from a suspicion 
that I cannot comply with it. I will go, 
therefore, to convince you that no time 
or place have a power in them to repel 
me." Ippolito wondered mentally, for 
he felt this had been the real motive of 
his request. 



On the following night, Ippolito had 
b^en detained unusually late by an en- 
gagement; he returned with the child- 
ish joy of a truant ; his valet lit him 
to his apartment, but both started back 
on observing a stranger in the room, in 
an uncommon garb, who sat with his 
back to the entrance, and who did not 
rise on their approach, Montorio, im- 
mediately discovering his visitor, dis- 
missed the terrified servant, and advvan- 
ced, with some expressions, I suppose,, 
of complacency, which his surprise ren- 
dered incoherent. '^ You have forgotten 
your appointment, Signor, but I have 
not neo'lected mine," s^id the stranp'er, 
with a smile somewhat grim. *' I am 
glad you have not," said Montorio, *' I 
have long wished to see you here." — ** I 
am," answered the stranger, *' a con- 
stant though unobserved visitor; nor 
would you, perhaps, be pleased to know 
liow often I have trod this room, and 
drav/n your cnrtains, and beheld you 



sleeping in that bed ; na\% how often t 
have passed in tl>€ broad light of da\v 
and ahnost touched you as I passed, 
and you beheld me not " — " Oh !" said 
Mcntorio, tossing witl. impatience, *' is 
it ever to be thus ? am J to i)e ever abused 
and mocked by a po ver that is extensive 
and resistless only to torment me? can 
you thus control nature, and yet not 
give an individual that intelligence which 
the meanest pretenders to your art will 
endeavour to give at the first conference?" 
** Because they are pretenders," said 
the stranger sternh^ ; " their very facility 
proves it ; your mind, its habits and fa- 
culties, have been so vitiated by marvel- 
lous indulgence, so outraged by lying 
inconsistency, that you cannot easily 
admit the bare forms of reality, the cold 
solemnity of truth ; you have been ac- 
customed to the jargon of astrology, the 
fooleries of the wizard, the phosphoric 
blaze, and the spectre of gauze ; you can 



digest the idea of beings who can mount 
in cloud and fire, who can yoke the 
spirits of the blast, who can be served by 
the forms of the elements, and discover 
treasures that nature never owned : that 
such should lurk in the hovel of indi- 
gence, should depend on plundered cre- 
dulity for their subsistence, should shrink 
from the cognizance of earthly power» 
and when detected, want a single friendly 
familiar to save them from ignominy and 
punishment; you can digest this; and 
therefore, to you, he that speaks with 
the simplicity of truth, must appear as 
one that mocketh/' ** I am, indeed, 
mocked," said Montorio impetuously, 
^* mocked by my own timidity, by my 
own folly ; but, by the living God, I 
will be mocked no more!" He started 
up, he grasped the stranger wildly--- 
** Either satisfy me this moment ; tell 
me who and what you are, for what pur- 
pose you have fastened on me to haunt 


46* FATAL revenge; or, 

and to madden- me, or you never shall 
quit this apartment. By that tremendous 
name I invoked, I will never relax my 
hold till you have told me whom it is I 
speak to." '' Who I am," said the 
stranger rising to the question, '^ who 
knows, and who can tell ? Sometimes I 
do not know myself; yet often I am as 
other men, and do with them the deeds 
of common life. But when that hour 
Cometh, when the power is on me — then" 
said he (and his visage liglitened, and 
his frame dilated) *' the torrent and the 
tempest shrink from me, the ocean in 
his force retires from me, the founda- 
tions fail from under me ; then I ride on 
the horses of the night, I pass from re- 
gion to region like the shadow, I tread 
the verge of being alone ; — that is my 
term of punishment, and its control is 
terrible ; then am I left motionless, w^ast- 
ed, annihilated, on the mountain top, 
in the desert, on the ocean ; I feel the 

earth h' 


earthly air breathe on me again, I feel 
the beams that give Ught to man falling 
soft on me ; then I begin to live again. 
— But 1 hear the feet of mv taskers, 
and I spring onward before the moon 
has set.'' — *' Unimaginable being," said 
Ippolito with strong emotion, " shall I 
worship thee as a deity, or shun thee 
as a fiend ? What are those goblin shapes 
that are with you every night? and what 
is it ye do in the bowels of the earth ?" — 
'^ Some of them are my agents, and 
some my punishers ; we are a race of 
beings, of whose existing many have talk- 
ed, many have read, and none believed ; 
we can be only knov/n by our properties, 
fi)rour nature who shall tell? the meanest 
of us are employed in the mischiefs of 
creation, the meanest of us toil in the 
mountain and the mine, yell in the tem- 
pest, and lash and furrow the flood, edge 
the hghtning points, and mix and watch 
the seeds of the pestilence ; but we who 
are of a Ingfeer class, Oh ! who shall tell 


48 FATAL revenge; or, 

the height of our punishment? It is 
ours to watch over a frame a million times 
more corrupt and distempered — the heart 
of man, and his life, and his actions. 
There is not a deed of blood, there is not 
a deed of horror, there is not a murderer, 
there is not a being whose fate and cir- 
cumstances make his species shudder to 
hear or read, but it is ours to lead and 
to prompt, to harden and to inflame, to 
sear the conscience and to steel the arm." 
■ — *' And is it for such a purpose I am 
thus haunted ?" interrupted Montorio 
wildl}^; *^ and am I to be — what must 1 
be ? a murderer 1 a being whose fate shall 
makemankind shudder! Tell me," he 
exclaimed, seizing the stranger again, 
and almost shouting with vehemence, 
'^only tell me, and I forgive you."- — 
*' What your fate will be," said the 
strano'cr, ^' I can only intimate from 
the eagerness and tumult of the prepara- 
tion that accompanied its disclosure to 
me. I was," said he, fixing his eyes 



and planting his feet, ** in the very cen- 
tral core of the earth when I received it, 
and I stood beside you at night." — '^ And 
yet you cannot disclose It, even now — " 
he paused a moment; *^ Does this delay 
intimate any thing beside your power of 
suspending your victims ?" — '' I dare 
not flatter you, I have ever found thas 
supernatural delay precede the disclosure 
of something of uncommon horror — at 
least I recollect it to have been so in the 
case of your ancestor, IMuzIo di Mon- 
torio, who lived in the troubles of Mas- 
saniello." — "In the troubles of Massa- 
r.iello, why they wer€ 200 years ago 1" — 
*^ They were." — " And you knew Muzio 
di Montorio, who lived at that time?" — 
^* I did; my knowledge of circumstances, 
which could be known only to a contem- 
porary, will prove it> He was a man 
proud and irritable ; one of the Girola 
family had obstructed his success both in 
love and fortune ; a deadly hate to this 
VOL. III. D man 


man fixed on Montorio's mind : from 
that moment it became my office to tend 
and observe him. I bore another form 
then; my prognostics of his fate, which 
were tempting and partial, rouzed his 
curiosity ; I was with him day and night, 
as I am with you, but his fate it was not 
permitted me to tell expressly. Weary 
at length of suspended expectation, and 
disgusted with Naples, where the con- 
stant presence of his enemy occurred, he 
prepared to fly from Italy ; but he could 
not fly from me: he thought he had, 
however, and proceeded with satisfaction. 
On the dreary hills between Pisa and 
Lucca, he was benighted at a small inn 
on the borders of a forest ; he inquired if 
he could pass the night there, and was 
told ail the rooms were occupied by the 
Count Girola and his train. Muttering 
curses on the name, he was preparing to 
pass the night in the forest, and brave 
the violence of an approaching storm, 



sooner than enter the roof of his foe, 
when the host recollecting hhiiself, in- 
formed him he might have an apartment, 
for he had heard the Count say he would 
pass the night at a kinsman's of his, 
whose castle was ahout a mile distant, 
and where his train, after passing the 
night at the inn, not to incommode his 
kinsman, might join him in the morning. 
The image of his enemy, in a lonely 
forest, unattended, unprepared, flashed 
like lightning on the mind of Montorio. 
I was beside him at that moment. He 
bid his attendants halt at the inn, and 
plunged into the forest with blind fury. 
The storm came on ; he saw not who rode 
behind him in it ; he saw not what shape 
was in the ghastly light that shone round 
his horse, as the heavy sulphur clouds 
rolled over the forest. But I and others 
were near him — near 1 — we were above, 
around, within him. He lurked in a 
thicket, a dark, matted, briery thicket, 
D 2 where 


" ^ IMARY 


Avliere by the glancing of the lightning 
lie saw a cross erected, in memory of 
murder recently done there. As he be- 
held it, I heard him groan, and I be- 
lieved my office was rendered void (for a 
moment) ; but in the next he heard a 
voice which made his teeth grind and 
his flesh sliiver; it was the voice of 
Girola, desiring his page, who was on 
foot, and his only attendant, to hold his 
torch lower, as the forest track was dark 
and tangled. Montorio rushed forward; 
the page fled shrieking, and dropt the 
torch. Girola was afterwards found near 
the thicket, horribly butchered ; his skull 
alone had seven deep wounds in it, as if 
the hand that struck him was resolved 
to hunt and extinguish life wherever it 
might linger. Muzio was also found by 
some messengers from the kinsman's cas- 
tle, and by Girola's train, bareheaded, 
leaping, and raving, for the rage of his 
revenge had deprived him of reason ; he 



was brought back to Naples, tried for 
the murder, and condemned. In prison 
I was again with him, for human hin- 
drances are nought to me ; he knew m«, 
for his reason returned, and acknow- 
ledged the truth of my intimations^. I 
was with him in the last terrible hour, 
and wished my being frail and finite like 
his. But it must not be ; with me time 
is ever beginning, suffering is ever to be, 
But I talk of myself, and no wonder, 
for every mode of human misery revives 
my own, which mixes with all, partakes 
of all, and yet is distinct from all, by a 
dreadful exemption from solace, or miti- 
gation, or end.'' — ** This is passing all 
belief said Ippolito, who was musing 
and speaking inwardly. ** If we yield to 
these things, if we do not rouze up our 
minds, and put them to the issue, we 
may at once resign all power and exer- 
cise of reason." He paused, and fixed 
his eyes earnestly on th^ stranger. * ' The 


54 FATAL revenge; or, 

circumstances you have related are such, 
indeed, as none but a contemporary (or 
one versed in secrets I thought hidden 
from all strangers) could know; yet still 
I listen to you, mazed and reluctant ; 
but," rising and eagerly advancing, '* if 
you can. give me one proof, one solid, 
masculhie proof, that you witnessed 
the transactions of times so distant, I 
will yield, I will believe every thing, I 
will submit to every thing, I will crush 
every thing in my mind that rises against 
or resists you." — '* I can," said the stran- 
ger, rising also, ** the portrait of Muzio 
is in the next room, take that taper and 
follow me ; survey that picture, the left 
hand rests on a marble scroll; do you 
see the ring on that thumb ?" — *' I do." 
-— ** Nay, but remark it, 'tis most re- 
markable, so much so, that it was always 
worn by the owner, and faithfully copied 
in the portrait; it was an antique, found 
in a vault in the demesne of his friend, 



Cardinal Lanucci, a man well known in 
tlie consistory those days, and presented 
by liim to Muzio ; you have observed it, 
no\v^ look here." He showed the ring on 
the forefinger of his right hand ; *' you 
must often have heard of this ring, you 
must have heard it disappeared with 
Muzio, and that your family deplored 
the loss of it; he gave it to me almost 
in his last moments, for I was with him 
then; and now," said he with an unut- 
terable look, *^ now he is with me/' 
Ippolito was so absorbed in wonder at 
the circumstance, of which it was not 
easy to dispute the evidence, that he 
even forgot the constant subject of his 
solicitude and inquiry, and suffered him 
to depart without question or delay. As 
he was quitting the apartment, which 
looked into the street, a^ number of 
monks passed along, who were going to 
visit a dying man, and who elevated the 
host for adoration as they went; Ippo- 


56 FATAL revenge; or, 

lito, scarcely waking from his trance, 
paid the short form of habitual worship, 
but the stranger turaecl away discon- 
certed and perturi^ed. 

Ippohto felt delight at his departure; 
this last circumstance impressed him with 
the terror that attends the doubtful pre- 
sence of something not good; and he 
leant from the window, half expecting 
to see him dissolve in air or flame as he 
quitted the palace. But it was now broad 
day, and he saw his st^range visitor pass 
with slow and visible motion down the 
Strada di Toledo. 

But the impression which the confer- 
ence v/as intended to convey soon revived, 
and Ippolito describes it as most strange 
and peculiar. He writes, that when he 
awoke from his noon- day sleep (now the 
only one he took), the first sensation he 
experienced was a consciousness of new 
agency, a new view of existence, a clear 
and thorough perspective, in which the 



iwodcs of life lay before him, not as they 
appear to the human mind, mixed, un^ 
certain, and obscure, possessing an eter- 
nal power of exciting expectation by no* 
velty, and tempting solicitude by doubt, 
but all equally near and familiar, and, as 
it were, in the same plane to liis mental 
eye, as if by some optical deception alb 
the distant objects of a long journey were 
at once rendered equally large, and strik- 
ing, and palpable, to one who had but 
just set out on it. 

But the effect of this extraordinary 
approximation was not to make him sati- 
ated by the nearness, or weary of the 
familiarity of these objects; no, he felt 
his mind as it were hedged up and pressed 
on by them, with a force which no other- 
could interpose between or remit; his 
powers seemed not to be occupied, but 
compressed, not ambitious of enlarge- 
ment, but incapable of dilation ; to him 
there was but one course to be followed, 
D 3 but 

53 FAT^L REV£NGfe ; OR, 

but one act to be done. He felt like one 
whose fcite is already told, and to wliona 
no future aiscovery can reveal any object 
of toil or of solicitude ; there was there- 
fore within him a strange passivencss> 
that yet did not exclude the highest de- 
gree of busy excitement. He felt some 
great event was not to be wrought, but 
to be waited for ; all the dullness of lin- 
gering expectation was superseded by 
this great event being as it were placed 
in contact with his mind, in place of 
tumultuous preparation; there was there- 
fore an earnest awaitment, and amid the 
most vigorous mental emotions he pos- 
sessed an entire animal calm. When he 
arose and went abroad, and looked around 
him, those whom he met, and their pur- 
suits, appeared to him indescribably 
vague, and trivial, and hollow. He men- 
tally wondered how men could be en- 
gaged in pursuits whose attainment was 
not certain, or in views whose objects 



were distant and indefinite. A milligii 
of times in that day he said to himself^ 
*' How can these beings exercise such 
alacrity and zeal for they know not what? 
they cannot see the events of another 
hour, yet they push on with eagerness 
in their eye, and activity in their motion. 
How dreadfully flat and vacant would 
such pursuit be to me 1 in me the clear 
and certain view of supernatural disclo* 
sure justifies the utmost energy of mo* 
tion, as well as the utmost patience of 
expectation." But when his mind had 
partly recovered from the glare which 
this new light had poured on it, and the 
artificial nearness in which it had placed 
the objects it disclosed, he began to in- 
quire what new light had indeed been 
powxd on his mind, or what ncxv object 
had been discovered by its help f None f 
The intimation of his fate had been con- 
veyed in the most general terms of doubt- 
ful prediction ', something had been re« 



vealed, but without circumstance or coir- 
nection ; all that can prompt inquiry, or 
distinguish between our own conjecture 
and the information of others, was con- 
cealed. 13ut enough had been told to 
fill the high-minded and romantic Ippo^ 
lito witli delight while he thought of it ; 
his fate was to be no vulgar one (by the 
agent employed to announce itj ; be was 
not to fall with the unknown, nor lie 
-with those that are not remembered : 
something great, terrible, or tragical wa« 
to mark the close of his course. 

Before the day ended he had mentally 
rehearsed, and compared, and applied all 
the circumstances of high and distin- 
guished endings of life he could remem* 
ber; calculated what relation the most pro- 
bable of them could bear to the period of 
Jiis own ; and, clothed in the array of vi- 
sionary heroism, beheld life and death 
pass before him with indifference. Such 
M'as his propensity to the romantic and 



the marvellous, and sucli his thirst for 
distinction, that the gratification of these 
primitive feelings of his nature was not 
only a balance for the view of near and 
expected drssolution, but even for those 
more dark and disastrous intimations 
which the stranger suggested relative to 
the usual complexion of the fate of those 
to whom he was appointed to predict it. 
The triumph of these high-wrought and 
vivid feelings was short ; he was about 
to exchange the pride of gratified solici- 
tude, the sth'rings of noble expectation, 
the dream of high-fated and heroic vi- 
sionry, for doubt, which he believed to 
be gone, and for remorse, which he 
thought never would arrive. 

I do not know whether for some days 
after this visit he saw the stranger ; I ra- 
ther imagine not, for he had again leisure 
and relaxation of mind sufficient to min- 
gle in society : such is the power of habit 
over minds even in the highest state of 


62 FATAL revenge; or, 

excitement. This I collect from his next 
page, which, tliough sufficiently inco- 
herent, informs nie he was engaged to a 
fete at the villa of the Countess Verano, 
near the foot of the mountain. The villa 
was not sufficiently large to contain the 
numerous company, who intended to 
stay for some days, and most of the ca- 
valiers passed the night in temporary 
buildings which were scattered through 
the demesne, furnished with refreshments 
in the day, and illuminated in the even- 
ing. To one of these Ippolito retired ; 
but the balmy moonlight and air that 
came mingled like one element through 
the bowery lattice of his hut, refreshed 
him more than sleep, and he arose and 
feasted silently. He had not been long 
at the window when he thought he saw 
the figure of a man, whose habit and 
gesture were strange, advancing from 
the trees, and moving with caution and 
fear. Whether his mind was fatigued by 



dissipation, or whether he saw no resem- 
blance iu this object to any that might 
excite an apprehension, he observed it 
and saw it disappear without an inquiry. 
Soon after he retired to his rustic bed ; the 
lamps had been long extinguished ; but 
the moon shone full through the foliage 
of the casement, and once accidentally 
raising his eyes, on thinking that light 
obstructed, he fancied he saw the face 
of a man at the casement, looking in 
earnestly : even this made only a mo- 
mentary impression on him, and he was 
soon asleep. We are utterly the creatures 
of time and place ; had the day been 
passed in solitude, had his dormitory 
been at a distance from the habitations 
of others, had there been an impression 
on his mind, like the expectation of 
some fearful thing, much slighter appear- 
ances would have rouzed him. He slept 
not long, however, he was a^/akened by 
a glare of light and a pressure qn his 

breast ; 

^4 FATAL iikvknge; or, 

breast ; he attempted to rise, but could 
not, and when he was able to distinguish 
o])jects, he saw the stranger bending 
over him ; there was a wild force in his 
expression and gestures, and a combina- 
tion of the fantas^tic and horrible iu his 
appearance that made Ippolito shrink as 
from a spectre. A long, dark robe was 
his only covering, on which the charac- 
ters and eiTjblems were, some of them too 
obscure, and some too wild for exami- 
nation. It was fastened by a cincture, 
on which the word *' mystery" was in- 
scribed ; his long arms were bare, his 
long black hair streamed around him, 
but the temples were bound by a circle 
of fire, whose points blazed in the eyes 
of Ippolito as he looked upward. *^ Awake, 
arise, Ippolito di Montorio, arise and 
come with me!" — ** Who are you? ami 
wherefore ar€ you come? and whither 
must I go?"—*' The hour is come, stay 
not to question; the power, which no« 



thing can resist, is come; stay not to 
question." As he spoke, he disappeared 
On what a subtle hinge do our motions 
turn ? Had the stranger but waited to 
repeat his injunction, or allow time for 
expostulation, Montorio M'ould probably 
have been checked by the delay, and for^ 
borne to accompany him ; but his de- 
parture had an air of independence in it 
that impelled Montorio to follow him 
involuntarily. He had tain down in his 
vest, and now wrapping his mantle round 
him, soon overtook his conductor; the 
latter proceeded with a speed that did 
not move but glide. Ippolito with all the 
vigour of youth and expectation scarcely 
could keep pace with him ; wherever 
they went, all seemed buried in sleep, 
and without exchanging a word, or re- 
mitting their speed, they reached the 
suburbs of Naples. I'he bandage was 
again put on, and Ippolito conducted to 
the subterranean passage. What his feel- 


ings were at this moment, lie probably 
had not leisure to remember or describe. 
A man who, inflamed by dissipation, is 
roused from sleep, and plunged among 
objects of terror, can only tell of a mixt 
and tumultuous state, in which, though 
all was unpleasant, nothing was distinct. 
The first clear impression that such a 
person would experience, would probably 
be from an object affecting not his mind 
but his senses : and consistently with 
this, he says, that when the bandage 
excluded from him the distraction of ex- 
ternal things, when the echoes of that 
passage smote his ear, and his breath 
was driven back by the dark and heavy 
air, the mist that had obscured his mind 
and senses seemed to disperse, and he 
became suddenly and keenly capable of 
reflexion. His first sensation was delight, 
a proud and eager delight, that welcomed 
an object so remote and long desired, 
not without an awe, such as his present 



circumstances suggested, and such as the 
romantic mind loves. But while he was yet 
in the confusion of sudden joy, a strange 
feeling came to his heart, a doubtful terror, 
such as he had never before known, was 
on him ; to bodily fear he was a stranger. 
He spoke of this sensation as the inward 
and sensible motion of a power above 
him, a power that impressed the evidence 
of its own agency by a resistless con- 
sciousness, an intimate peculiarity, which 
cannot be communicated but cannot be 
mistaken. The stranger felt his steps 
faulter — he paused — ** I am out of 
breath," said he, ** and this air suffo- 
cates and repels me." — '* That is not 
your motive for pausing," said his con- 
ductor ; ^' I acknowledge it is not," said 
Ippolito, '^ there is a feeling within me, 
such as no time, or place, not even this, 
with all its circumstances, ever suggested 
to me before; it tells me to return, it 
tells me to visit these haunts, to proceed 


68 FATAL revenge; OJl, 

in this business, no further. I wonder at 
the sudden change of my mynd and 
views, I wonder at the gulf that seems 
to have opened between me and my most 
vital pursuit, at this utter dampness and 
despondency that has struck to my heart's 
core ; it makes me an astonishment to 
myself: but I believe it to be the intima- 
tion of a power either within me or above 
me, and this hesitation is, not to obey 
but to ascertain it." The stranger paused 
for some time. ** Tlie sensation you de- 
scribe, you do not know the cause of; 
nor would any hour or place, but those 
in which we now are, justify me in its 
disclosure; it is part of the influence of 
this most signal night, part of the in- 
fluence felt by all, by the traveller in his 
lonely journey, who hurries on at this 
moment, he knows not why ; by the re- 
. tired man, who trims his lamp ta repel 
the solitary feeling that comes to his 
heart ; nay, by the very child, who 



waking now shudders a prayer, and tries 
to hide itself under sleep. The influence 
of this hour is felt by all, and misunder- 
stood by all; they judge of it by their 
various superstitions of time and place : 
it is the presence of our master that hangs 
in the elements, darkening the night, 
and sending fear into the souls of men. 
This influence is now felt by you, but 
mixing it up with your habitual feelings, 
you mistake it for a monition from a 
power that reaches not here/' 

This new appeal to his curiosity made 
Ippolito at once forget his doubt and hesi- 
tation. ** Who is your master, let me look 
on him?" — ** He has neither name, nor 
form, nor symbol of existence." — ^* How 
then can you know that he is present 
with you?" — "By signs, which cannot 
be told to man." — " And is it his pre- 
sence you have required so long, and 
will it now enable you to reveal my fate 
to me clearly and faithfully? is this the 


70 FATAL revenge; on, 

great opportunity so long withheld? shall 
I know all to-night?" — '* Whatever is to 
be known, must be known to-night; 
though uninvoked and invisible, he is 
present with us, and all things are pos- 
sible. I have neglected nothing to pre- 
pare me for the business ; you saw me 
surrounded by fires, the relics of the 
grave, and the blood of dead men ; but 
what hands arrayed me in them," said 
he in a deeper tone, ** you could not 
see." — *' Proceed," said Ippolito eagerly, 
** if indeed you have such power, and 
this be its hour of exercise ; if I shall 
learn to-night what no mortal power can 
unfold, it is the very pitch of my enthu- 
siasm, the very point and sum of my vi- 
sionary ambition, and I will follow you, 
though my steps faulter, and my mind 
sicken with some unutterable presage; 
but if this be a night of disappointment, 
by him whose name I dare not name in 
this den of sorcery I will enter it no more." 
5 His 


His conductor enjoined silence, and 
led him onward ; they descended. Ip- 
polito endeavoured to collect all the 
strength of his mind for what he believed 
to be a signal, even if a fictitious strug- 
gle ; but such were the terrors of the 
place, and such the impression, utterly 
distinct from deception or professional 
imposture that attended the words and 
movements of his companion, that he 
sought in vain for that relief which the 
belief of having only to do with beings 
like ourselves always affords to the terrors 
of such an encounter. lie endeavoured 
intently to recall to his memory impres- 
sions of former awe, expunged by disco- 
veries of former deception ; but there 
was no resemblance either in the modes 
or agents to qualify his present emotions 
with the suspicion that they were excited 
in vain, and he continued his silent pro- 
gress in that unpleasant state of mind in 
which receding expectation is pursued 


7^ FATAL revenge; OR, 

by advancing fear, and the apprehension^ 
having gone too far, is aggravated by 
the doubt that it is possible to return. 
They Avent on, however, without inter- 
ruption until they arrived at that place of 
which I could get no description except 
from sudden starts and exclamations of 
horror. The bandage was removed. Ippo- 
11 to observed, that every object bore a 
different aspect on this night from any 
he had seen on his preceding visits ; 
whatever strange appearances used to 
meet or greet him on his entrance, were 
now removed or silent. As he passed 
through the vault, the former ministers 
of fear were stretched around him in deep 
sleep, and as he walked among them (the 
blazing and up-pointed hairs of his con* 
ductor his only light), some of them 
shuddered and some moaned, some of 
them laughed and some gibbered inar- 
ticulately, and pointed towards him. *' Of 
those forms," said the stranger, '* the 



living spirits are now absent ; for, ever 
before they meet their master, they have 
a short space of rest and remission ; it 
would weary the imagination to follow 
their flight now, where they are con- 
tending with contending elements, or 
shooting on the track of the meteor when 
he careers bevond this bourne of earth, 
and suspends them over the unknown 
vast, * without form and void.' Of those 
that haunt the habitation of man, it is 
easier to guess the pastime ; some are 
weaving the dim and ghastly visions of 
the sick, some are searing the sleep of 
the guilty with sounds of remembered 
voices, and forms that they thought sleep 
would shut out; some hide in ruins, 
from which they send wailing voices, 
that seem like bodings of fearful things 
to the belated passenger, or lights that 
lure him to the den of the robber, or the 
brow of the precipice ; and some in the 
dwellings of the dead, where they do 
VOL. III. E things, 

74- FATAL revenge; or, 

things, such as crazy superstition, or" 
the howling maniac never dreamed of/' 
On Ippolito's mind, this assemblage of 
terrible imagery produced no additional 
efifect; he had wound it to a fearful 
pitch, even to that of all others to our 
nature the most repugnant, which, lay- 
ing aside all the softnesses and levities 
of life, prepares to look upon the un- 
clothed and unqualified, and near-brought 
nakedness of death. He said, he felt 
within him a dark strength, a stubborn 
and horrid force of mind, as if he were 
determined to be revenged on any ter- 
rors the discoveries of the night might 
prepare for him, by contemning and 
defying them, for so strong was the 
impression of the reality and certainty of 
Avhat was about to be disclosed to him, 
that he had no more idea of resisting 
or evading it, than if a voice from hea- 
ven had declared it to him. In this 
fierocious sullenness, therefore, his mind 



tt)ok shelter, and tliough be endca- 
voui'cd to ex^'hange it for that resig- 
nation of which he had heard moralists 
talk, and which he felt to be the more 
appropriate feeling of that crisis, yet 
still the natural resentment of an op- 
pressing force, the native abhorrence 
of having our liberty abridged, and our 
path hedged up and carved out for us, 
(even by a superior power, and of the 
knowledge of whose precise operations 
our pursuit has been eager and inces- 
sant,) filled him with emotions gloomy, 
perturbed, and rebellious. What were 
the peculiar rites of this signal, night 
I know not, nor whether the. presence of 
the evil one superseded the attendance 
of his ministers, who were absent on 
their goblin devices, but after describing 
his feelings in lines of which the tremor 
is yet visible, Ippolito went on to tell 
me he was left alone and in utter dark- 
ness, in some remote part of this im- 
E 2 mense 

7o FATAL revenge; or, 

mense space, (which he described as 
a territory under ground,) with injunc- 
tions neither to speak nor move, but to 
see, and to mark what he beheld. By 
Avhat means he was to see in utter dark- 
ness, he could not conjecture, till at a 
distance he beheld a small blue flame 
rise before him, it spread and enlarged 
gradually, and ascending to a vast 
height, stood, without any of the flicker- 
ing or volatile appearance of fire, a fixed 
and voluminous curtain of vapour. Its 
light, though strong and distinct, but 
partially discovered the extent of the 
vault, its dusky and ill-defined roof, and 
those parts of it whose limits pressed 
on the edge of the flame, were faintly 
visible ; into the recesses of deeper 
darkness that spread around him, Ip- 
polito felt not inclined to look. Mean- 
while, the body of the flame, slowly 
diminishing and dividing, was sus- 
pended in a luminous arch, within 



which appeared a black reflecthig sur- 
face, which filled the whole interval, and 
which Ippolito compared to a mirror of 
black marble. He gazed intently ; se- 
veral undefined forms chased each other 
over the surface, and were lost in the 
columns that formed its frame. At 
length, a full distin^ form appeared di- 
rectly opposite to him ; it was, in a modern 
garb, the face was concealed, the ges- 
tures indicated distraction and dismay ; 
Ippolito, as yet unconscious of the in- 
telligence they were to convey, watch- 
ed its «iotions fixedly. Had the figure 
availed itself of every mode of speech 
and expression, it could not have con- 
veyed more powerfully the idea of a 
being impelled by a power resistless and 
invisible, to some deed or object, from 
which it shrunk, sometimes with humili- 
ty of deprecation, sometimes with devices 
of evasion, and sometimes with convul- 


sions of resistance, still the power that 
acted on it appeared to increase in 
strength and effect, and its progress 
towards this'event appeared more rapid ; 
its motions were now most strongly indi- 
cative of fear, irresolutron, and reluct- 
ance; like the animals who are said to be 
Avithin the sphere of fascination, it shi- 
vered, and parleyed, 'and retreated, every 
motion a start, and every limb in a 
struggle of aversion that protracted the 
misery it endeavoured to shun in vain. 
At length with a vehement impulse he 
snatched the dagger, to which its hand 
had been often involuntarily directed, 
and threw it from him with the force of 
one who wishes to remove from him an 
object of temptation, and appeared to 
regard it for some time as a respite from 
internal persecution, but in a short time 
the influence appeared to operate again, 
again he appeared to make the faint yet 
desperate struggles of one who knows 



•tfiat all struggles are-bootless. With a 
quivering and yet a straiiiingmotion he 
approached the place where the dagger 
lay; often receding, his feet bore him 
to the spot ; often wincing at the touch, 
his hand at length grasped it strenu- 
ously; but then all further power or 
means of delay seemed to cease. I'he 
figure rose severely erect, as if every 
nerve were forcibly dilated, and the 
M'hole man wretched and wound to a 
pitch of unnatural energy, and then 
moved away with a motion, which an 
effort at swiftness, . struggling v/ith the 
warped and contracted state of the mus- 
cles, rendered frightful. The figure anci 
his motions conveyed*x>ne idea so power- 
fully to Ippolito that, on his disappearing, 
he exclaimed aloud, • " he. is going to mur- 
der someone!" Almost as he spake, a 
cry came to his ear, not like the cry 
of individual agony, but as if all the 
terrors of a last dying groan were mixed 



with the shriek of those who look upon 
some direful thing. IppoHto's hair 
stood erect at that sound. The figure 
reappeared, his actions now were the 
savings of despair, his garments were 
splashed with blood, and he held the 
dagger with the gesture of one whose 
horror has rendered him insensible that 
he holds the witness of his condem- 
nation. A confused sound was then 
heard, and several dim figures appeared 
on the tablet, Ippolito heard the rattling 
of chains, mixed with the toll of a bell, 
and that hum of preparation which ac- 
companies some event of moment, the 
agonies of the phantom seemed to re- 
double, and Ippolito instantly compre- 
hended that the punishment of his crime 
was approaching. In a short time, 
figures in the habits of executioners sur- 
rounded him, in the struggles of despair 
he broke from their gripe, and falling on 
his knees and stretching out his arms 



with the gesture of one who addresses 
heaven, not to appeal, but to accuse, 
the covering fell from his face, and 
Montorio darting towards him beheld /zw 
ocvfi. The figures disappeared, the sheet 
of blue fire closed over the tablet, and 
sinking into the floor with a faint hiss, 
expired. Ippolito was silent for some 
moments, from the struggle of feelings 
that almost suffocated him ; at length 
rage, and amazement, and horror, found 
vent in a storm of execration and fury. 
It is impossible to conceive with what 
abhorrence his mind, so high-toned, so 
ambitious, even romantic in virtue, and 
impracticably rigid in its system of ho- 
nour, with what abhorrence it must 
have struo-o'led with the idea of un- 
dergoing the vilest of punishments for 
the vilest of crimes. There is a deli- 
cacy too, taught by early luxury, and 
the indulgences and exemptions of rank, 
that shrinks from the debasing circuin- 
E 3 sta72ces 

82t FATAL revenge; or, 

stances wliich attend tlie commi^ion 
and the; punishment of a crime, with 
as much'native antipathy as virtue feels 
at the crime itself, and which is often 
a security for the forbearance of evil 
in minds where the purer principle is 
absent. Ippolito was all outraged, and 
inflamed^ and revolted, and the appear- 
ance* of the stranger, on whose entrance 

'the vault was lit again, only gave his 
rage an object. *' Monster," he roared, 
** was it for this I was drawn hither, 

"* to be abused by a wizard lie, a damned 
prediction, which no heavenly power 
could doom ! nor you, nor all your host 

' of fiends, nor Satan himself, could'tempt 

• me' to realize ? Was it for this I watched 
and waited, was it • for this I resigned 

' the; peace of my existence, and the wel- 

• fare of my soul, tliat I sought the haunts 
r believe of demons, and yielded myself 
up to youy their leader, thou Arch image, 

tthou Beelzebub, . prince of the devils, 



^■ft be tokl that I am — that I must be — ► 
Oh ! it choaks my utterance, it blasts my 
lungs to speak it — what? — a murderer; 
a skulking- murderer ; dragged from his 
hiding-hole by the hands of the common 
executioner, that does his vile office on 
the beasts of the people — monster !' 

The .burning tears of rage burst 
out in spite of him, the stranger 
stood unmoved. ^^'Whom do you ac- 
cuse? You xvould Z>e//o/J your. fate, and 
you have beheld it."— ^^^ Im[>ossiblel 
wretch ! liar 1 ^ impossible!— Do I ;not 
know myself? Would I^out 
and stab with my sword, my. very. heart's 
core, if it could -harbour a thought 
depravity ? Had I been represented 
struggling with. an open, armed foe;:Jiad 
I been, represented acting in^the. fever of 
passion, (though even ^so I could rn^t 
.wound Jhe unprepared, ) .had Jt :beejj 
aught but this, I would have borne it,^ 
.though the perspective was filled with 
J, racks 

84- FATAL revenge; or, 

racks and fire. But this — what prete?# 
— what device — what excuse^ — I have 
not an enemy on earth ; no, by heaven ! 
I am as void of hatred as I am of fear. 
J3ut why do I linger? Let me from this 
cursed den : the very air breathes Hes 
and witchery ; I am infected while I 
stay lieje ; the very consciousness of 
a crime is stealing on me ; I am 
tempted to do something vile and guilty; 
and may all the horrors, the indig- 
iiitie's, the low- sunk depravity I am me- 
naced HJth, fall on me, if I ever from 
this fiignt enter your haunts, or have 
int' icour:se of any shape or circum- 
stance, or any pretext or temptation 
with you 01 ycJ^r associates, be they 
fiends, or impostors, or what they may; 
na3^ if I do not from this night re- 
nounce all pursuit or search of this 
damned art, that curses alike with sus- 
pense or cexcainty." — '' Go," said the 
stranger, stiii sternly calm, *^go, and 
6 . the 


the fiilfiliDent of your curse go with 
you, for from henceforth it shall ever 
seem as if this vault indeed engulphed 
you, as if your view was hounded by 
its darkness, and your thoughts filled 
with its teirors ; what you have seen 
or heard this night shall never leave 
your mind's eye ; wherever you are you 
shall remember me." — " I will lose 
my memory first, in drunkenness or 
madness ; I will drink mandragora and 
opium, I vrill have a drum beat on my 
head when the thought of you is there." 
— " That is but temporary, you will 
remember me in the hour of your guilt." 
— ''Liar!" — "You will remember me 
in the dungeon." — Ippolito stopt his 
ears. — '' You will remember me on the 
scaffold, and the image of him you have 
murdered will be scarce more terrible than 
the image of him you have belied and 

'' The image of him I am to murder !" 


85 FATAL revenge; OR, 

said Ippolito, who had in vain endea- 
voured to shut out the deep voice of 
the stranger, *' Where is it? Is it near 
nie ?" — *' It is," rephed the unknown, 
*' with myriads of other unch)thed 
emhryos of future horror ; here the 
shapes of things untokl are assembled ; 
spirits that tempt, and spirits tliat pu- 
nish, are liere awaiting their task, and 

-howling for their prey in these un- 
travelled spaces. You cannot see their 

* form, nor hear their sound as they sweep 
past you ; yet how many are gathered 
around you now ! For, on this signal 
night, myriads are assembled to attend 
their master and mine." Ippolito, who 
was quitting the vault, though he knew 
neither passage nor direction,. hesitated ; 

'his mind was in that state when the 
violence of its agitation is favourable 

V to the . most improbable and contradic- 
tory impressions, but in which it always 

.seeks a relief to its distrained and over- 


MTOught frame in an extreme, and there- 
fore if it deviate from one, certainly 
declines to another. At such a moment, 
the temptation of his habitual curiosity 
so critically suggested, and the near 
prospect of its gratification, combined 
M'ith the impression of sincerity, which 
the stranger's unyielding calmness in- 
voluntarily conveyed to him, wrought 
a strange and sudden change in the 
whole frame of his feelings. He re- 
turned slowly, and faultered out, ** Can 
you indeed shew me the form of him 
whom I am doomed — " he could not say 
to murder. '* That I know not," said 
the stranger, who during their con- 
ference had never changed his posture 
or expression. ** Unfeeling. and un- 
yielding that you are," said Ippolito, re- 
lapsing into passion, *' is this my an- 
swer ? Is this the way you relieve the 
wretch whom you upbraid for leavin-g 
^you? Why should I stay? You have 



poured fire into my brain, and poison in 
my heart, and now when I turn to the 
only resource you have left me, you 
mock me with a cold, lingering, doubt- 
ful answer. By whatever power you 
serve and fear, I adjure you, adjure you 
earnestly, terribly, by the convulsions 
of a broken spirit, by the ruins of a 
mind which none but you could bow 
down to weakness, I adjure you, grant 
me this last, wretched boon ; let me 
grow familiar with the wickedness of 
my own heart, uoy feel these revolt- 
ings, as if the motions within me were 
caused by the possession of a demon." 
The stranger spoke not, moved not, 
saw not, his arms were uplifted, his head 
thrown back, the. whites only of his 
eyes were visible, and though not a lijiib 
moved, the folds of his garment rose and 
spread as if they partook of some inward 
motion. Ippolito, almost insensible of 
what he saw, and possessed but by one 



object, repeated his importunities with 
aggravated vehemence ; again and again 
he grasped the unknown by the arm, 
and shook his garments, and shrieked 
his petition in the agonies of delirious 
impatience. *' AM^ay !" groaned a voice, 
that seemed to come an immeasurable 
distance ; *' away ! I am with my mas- 
ter now ; he comes, he comes, where 
^^lace neither measures nor reaches, 
thrw.^'^h the viewless and the void." 
Ippolito, inflamed not deterred, only 
raised his voice, and redoubled his ea- 
gerness ; his feelings became frenzy, his 
voice a roar, he supplicated, he menaced, 
he cursed, he defied with daring pro- 
vocation, the presence of the master- 
spirit, and threatened with extermina- 
tion the stranger, his ministers, the 
haunts of tlieir resort, and every agent 
and instrument of their accursed doings. 
At this outiage the stranger shivered, 
and half starting from his trance, looked 


90 FATAL revenge; -OR, 

around with a glazed, unawakened eye : 
*' Who hath brought him here?" he 
murmured; ^' The terror of his pre- 
sence upon ///;«." — " Let them be 
upon me," raved Ippohto, ** let me 
have something to confront and to con- 
tend with ; I dare him; he shrinks from 
me ; let him come ; if he be more ter- 
rible than these dens of horror have yet 
shewn me, if he be what I can but be^ 
hold and die, if he blast my eye? - nti 
the livid lightning of hell, let him come; 
I dare him; does he hear me? yes, I 
dare him ; let the echoes of his temple 
bear to him my sliout, my laugh of de- 
fiance." He burst into a horrid laugh. 

At these last sounds the stranger shriek- 
ed ; his shriek, so wild and unearthlike, 
was echoed from a hundred parts of 
the vault, and all the crowd of strange 
shapes, and many he had never before 
beheld, surrounded him in a moment ; 
the cavern rung with their cries, a com- 


•motion like an earthquake shook every 
place and object, self-moved lights 
darted through the darkness ; a sound 
like the moans of the dying, borne on 
the wind of midnight, rose, and increas- 
ing as it spread, filled the vault, till the 
maddened ear sought in vain the cause 
of its torture in the dizzy roar that op- 
pressed it : Oh, there is no telling the 
terrors of that hour ; if a being could be 
supposed to be plunged for a moment 
into Tophet, and retain his vital powers 
and reason, such I believe, would he 
describe it on his return, if the power 
of description remained to him. I re- 
collect some expressions of Ippolito's 
which described it with the energy of 
personal suiFering. *^ The very dead 
forms and characters that were on the 
walls, at this moment came to a horrid 
state of partial existence, they crawled and 
shuddered with a motion like life ; the 
very reptiles, of size and form such as is 


S^ FATAL revenge; OR, 

never seen in the upper world, seemed 
endued with a strange consciousness, 
and rose erect some, and some uttered 
sound, and some looked and stared with 
ahastlv intelligence." 

Amid this scene what an object mnstlp- 
polito have presented, the bold and beau- 
tiful outline of his figure appearing amid 
the fires and darkness, and witched shapes 
of that meeting, his sword ,drawn, his ha- 
bit thrown back, his eye and cheek kind- 
ling into frenzy, heightened with the pecu- 
liar wildness of supernatural terror. The 
stranger awoke from his trance ; he 
arose ; he grasped his arm, and looking 
on him with an eye that seemed to see 
other forms : '^ Come," said he, ** you 
who compel the powers of the night, and 
of the nether world, come with me." — 
'' Swear then, that you will shew me 
that form, the form of him who is to 
make me a villain ; if I can but behold 
him, I will sit down ia passive wretch- 
ed nesi^. 


edness, and resist no more ; shew me but 
that form—" '' You shall behold him." 
— '' Lead me then where you will." 

Again he was led to a space so re- 
mote that it seemed as if the immense 
extent of this place was suddenly be- 
come doubly immense, yet -their mo- 
tion was so quick that the rage and 
uproar seemed to have ceased at once. 
No sound was near them, their steps did 
not seem to emit any, the damp and 
^^&&y dulness of the coarse medium which 
could scarce be called air, seemed to ab- 
sorb every impression ; the single light 
the stranger bore, did not permit them to 
penetrate into the thick darkness, more 
than the arm could extend. They pro- 
ceeded in utter silence ; there was a chil- 
ling remoteness from life, within and 
around them. Ippolito had no consci- 
ousness of any thing, till he found they 
had stopped and entered a dark chamber, 
or rather another rude recess in thes? 



endless passages. Some object, dark 
and muffled, lay in a corner; but Ippo- 
lito's sigbt had been too long stimulated 
by glaring and unnatural impressions to 
regard it. ** In a few moments/' said 
the unknown, ** you will be cursed, like 
the rest of your species, with the fulfil- 
ment of your own wishes ; what, in com- 
passion to you, I would have withheld, 
I can now withhold no longer. The 
lord of the night, compelled by outrage 
and defiance, has come, in the fullness 
of his terrible potency he has come, and 
I am forced by that presence to deal 
with you without the mercy of reserve or 
delay." — ''Therefore," said Ippolito with 
€ager weariness, ** I pray you be speedy; 
soon let me know what is yet to be done 
or sufl^ered. I tell you I am in the very 
weakness of desperation ! Do not there- 
fore speak, for I can no longer hear ; my 
head is hot, and my mind wondrous 
heavy. I^et something be done, and 



qiiickly, while I am yet equal to it. I 
could, methinks, grasp at fire, or drink 
fresh blood, as if I were in the common 
ways and habits of nature. How loner 
this searing of the mind will last, I know- 
not; make your tool of me now, lam 
in your power."—*' Ther^ is something 
yet to be done," said the stranger draw- 
ing very near him, *' to recognize and 
to propitiate the presence of our master, 
a deed must be done, a deed without a 
name, which sounds foully in the ears 
of nature. Have you not sometime heard« 
that the power with whom we deal re- 
quires the spilling of blood as the test?" 
— '' I have heard of these things be- 
fore," said Ippolito speaking quick and 
low, and fixing his eyes on a- point ; 
'^ and the dreams that used to terrify 
childhood, are they become the acts of 
the man ? those things so dark, so dis- 
tant, are they indeed brought so near to 
me ? Be it so : here is my sword, from 


96 FATAL revenge; or, 

what part are tlie drops to be drawn 
that seal this mystery of iniquity ?" He 
bared and held out his arm. *' Not 
thac," said the stranger, '' it is not that; 
the sacrifice is aheady prepared, and you 
are not to be the victim, but the one 
who must offer it. Such victims with 
us are common ; creduhty or fear sup- 
phes them every day." 

As he spoke, he approached that ob- 
scure object, and drew off part of the co- 
vering that concealed it. Ippolito beheld 
a naked human breast, the rest of the bo- 
dy, head, and hmbs were concealed in a 
dark drapery, that fell also over the rude 
block, on which it appeared extended and 
fastened as on an altar. *' Here is the 
victim prepared;" said the stranger, ** he 
cannot fly or resist, he cannot discover 
or upbraid ; the movements of the dead 
are not further from the light or know- 
ledge of life than what is done in this 
vault; here is the weapon," giving him 
^ a small 


a small dagger, ^' strike firm and sure, 
the presence of our master requires this 
attesting act, and all shall then be 
known." — *^ Never," replied Ippolito, 
awaking at once to the keenest and most 
exalted sense of feeling and reflexion, 
** never; what future horrors my fate 
may pi^pare for me I know not, nor what 
dreadful preparation a g*oaded mind and 
a devoted consciousness may steel me 
with ; but while I have sense, and caa 
hold a weapon with the steady hand of 
one who can aim, or who can forbear, 
never shall such an accursed deed be 
done by me." — '^ Rash boy !" said the 
unknown, '* you know not what depends 
on this moment ; you know not whose 
presence makes these insensible walls 
burst out in an ominous dew, and this 
prepared taper burn tremulous and blue ; 
you know not who beholds you now, 
summoned hither by the outrage, and 
DOW dismissed with the capricious iniir- 
VOL. III. F niitv 

gS FATAL revenge; OR, 

iiiitv of a mortal, his wrath will be ter- 
rible, my power will fail before him, his 
fangs will scatter your flesh like chaff, 
his breath will blast and shrivel your sub- 
stance to an atom, you will be borne 
alive to his horrible haunt, the mock of 
his taloned imps, the torn, shrieking, 
and yet living feast of fiends." — *^ I hear 
your w^ords, " said Ippolito, *' but my 
ears are stopped with horrid things, and I 
cannot distinguish them, nor am I longer 
able to speak or to reason. I will not do 
that accursed thing; I will not harm that 
miserable object, though he can neither 
resist nor upbraid ; for myself, I am in 
his hands, whose hands can reach even 
here."— ** Think, oh, yet think," conti- 
nued the unknown, ** of the alternative 
that awaits your obstinacy, if the more 
direful and violent extremity should not 
overtake you ; you must never quit this 
vault again — never. No human force or 
art can ever find or free you; here you 



must linger on the confines of the outer 
darkness, feeding* despair with fearful 
shapes and sounds, so very near the ne- 
ther world, that the horrid familiarity 
will make you forget your nature ; and 
even while yet alive, and in the flesh, 
feel yourself becoming a demon, till oa 
such a night as this you shall be nailed 
to a block like hirriy whom similar infir- 
mity has brought here, to be put to a 
death you can neither see nor struggle 
against ; and then to lie here, your rot- 
ting bones made instruments of such 
unhallowed doings, that their dead juices 
shall creep and curdle to be so abused, 
while no friend weeps or knows your end, 
and your miserable soul unabsolved, 
unblessed, unappeased. Oh, think of 
this!" — *^ I have thought — it is in vain ; 
if one of your goblin ministers were 
howling temptation in my ears, while 
these horrors leave me a glimpse of will 
jDr reason, while I can draw a dagger; or 
F 2 not 

iOO FATAL revenge; OR, 

not draw it, I will not be a tame, resign- 
ed, voluntary villain." 

*' 'Tis possible," said the tempter, ** the 
malice of mercy may spare you to a Morse 
fate ; 'tis possible you may br^ dismissed 
from this chamber to linger out a long life 
of horrible expectation, for such it must 
be, with the consciousness of future guilt. 
You will neither have the preparation of 
definite knowledge to enable you to dare 
it with firmness, and to suffer with dig- 
nity, nor that partial reconcilement which 
long familiarity must produce with the 
most revolting objects, and which, if it 
do not leave the mind satisfied, at least 
renders it calm. No — instead of this, 
conscious that 3^ou must be guilty, you 
will try H'any modes of guilt, partly from 
cuj iosity, and partly from a vain hope to 
evade your allotted one; thus will you 
become hardened in evil, familiar with 
varieties of vic^. Your mind, from its 
habitual contemplations, will be degraded 




ccl below that of an assassin or a robber. 
The contagion will extend to your man- 
ners and habits ; your whole character 
will sink into a squalid misery, a depraved 
dejection, a desponding meanness, a ruf- 
fian abandonment. Never knowing when 
you arise that the sun will not light you 
to a shameful death, you will bear for 
ever about you the curse and blast of 
existence, the self-watching torture of 
fear, that dreads to wake and dreads to 
sleep. In the morning you shall wish for 
evening, and in the evening you shall 
M'ish for morning, anxious for the day 
to pass that you niay see it over without 
a crime, yet cursing it when it is past, 
that it has brought you nearer to inevi- 
table misery. In every wind you will 
hear cries of pursuit, in every eye you 
will see a spy or an accuser, every straw 
that crosses your path shall seem like a 
weapon offered to you, the infant and 
the sleeper shall suggest to you a whis- 

102 FATAL revenge; or, 

per of temptation ; your character, your 
feelings, your nature changed, low in 
vice and in wretchedness, you will crawl 
with conscious revoltings to the end of a 
long, long Tife, you will rush, shrieking 
with precipitate reluctance, on its guilty 
close, and you v/ill perish in the sin for 
which the horrors of uncertain anticipa- 
tion allowed you no time for repentance, 
and the degradation of your heart forbid 
the praise of fortitude or the solace of 
compassion. Such must be your life if 
you quit this chamber without seeing the 
face of your victim. But it is now in 
your power to command that sight, and 
if you do, its appearance will suggest to 
you so many circumstances of time, and 
place, and action, that you will have 
means to collect your powers ; your arm 
will be strong, your mind bold and 
awake, your energies collected, keen, 
intense ; you will be undisturbed by the 
rage of ignorance, the stupid curses of the 

vulgar ; 


vulgar ; you will walk with a steady step 
to the end of life, and quit it with the 
mysterious dignity of one who, possess- 
ing a knowledge above nature, was en- 
abled to act a part above it ; who, know- 
ing more than mere man could know, act- 
ed as mere man could never have acted. 
And is not this worth the struggle of a 

While he spoke, he had insinuated the 
dagger into Ippolito's hand, who, in the un- 
conscious workings of his mind and body, 
grasped it intensely. The strong picture 
of wretched life was before his eyes, his 
heart was hot, and desperate, and wreck- 
less. Before he knew the direction Ins 
hand had taken, he felt the blood gush- 
ing about the hilt of the dagger ; he heard 
the stifled, and broken, and peculiar 
moan of death ; he staggered, and shut 
his eyes ; he felt as if they were forced 
open again ; he looked, but could see 
nothing — there was a dead silence. At 


■J04 FATAL revenge; or, 

length Ippolito stammered out, *^ I have 
done it ! now fulfil what you promised, 
now kt me see that figure." — '' You 
shall," said the stranger in a voice whose 
tone made itself felt, even in that mos-t 
horrible moment, *' withdraw that cover- 
ing and you shall behokl it." — "Where! 
Avhat ! I am mazed I my head is throb- 
bing — speak — quickly." '^ Withdraw 

that covering, and you shall behold the 
face of your victim." — ^' Are you mad, 
or am I ? What connection can there 
he between this miserable object and him 
whose form I was to see?'* — " Look, 
and you shall see the very object, self, 
and form; not express, but actual." 
With hands that did not feel their own 
motion, he M^ithdrew the covering from 
the face; it was dimmed and altered by 
the struggles of death — but he saw it ; in 
that pale light, and with eyes that were 
seared and flashing, he knew it." 

** What did he see?" demanded the 



inquisitor. *' I know not; whenever he 
hut approaches the mention of it, his 
hand hecomes illegihie, his expressions 
grow Avikl. It is in vain to importune 
Iiim for that name, he could as soon 
brino; himself wittino;Iy to do the deed 
itself, as disclose the object or circum- 
stance of it, even to a brother. " — ' ' What 
change of sorcery," said the inquisitor^ 
*^ what dark dealing is this? How could 
the sufferer in the wizard's vault, and 
the being he was doomed to destroy 
at some future time^ be the same? or 
how — — " *' And still more strange," 
said AngelHni, *^ from allusions in sub- 
sequent passages I can collect,^ that the 
dying face he saw in the vault was the 
face of a living man, a man yet living 
in this world, in no expectation or chance 
of death ; nay, one who could by nof 
means be supposed to be in or near that 
place, one who. is yet alive and well; 
known to him. Though he had felt hi». 
F 3 hand& 

106 FATAL reven^ge; or, 

hands stiff with his blood, though he 
had seen the drawn features, the close 
set teeth, the broken and reverted eye, 
with all the terrible charactery of actual 
death upon him." 

*^ It is all a riddle, dark and fearful. But 
still, was not his mind lightened by the 
thought, that what had passed that night 
could be but in vision ? that if his victim 
was yet alive, he could not havo perished 
in that dark chamber? Did no hope of 
deception, of imposture, of the infirmity 
of his senses spring up within him ?" — ► 
*^ Oh, no; it was anly misery herghtened 
by anticipation, and confirmed by cer- 
tainty ! He had read, and s€> have I, 
Avhen perhaps our motive to such studies 
was curiosity, of some potent workings 
of that art, by which the spirits of the 
living are, with unheard of anguish ta 
the sufferer, brought to the place and 
the power that requires them, and there 
are made, or seem to undergo in vision 



and mist, whatever can be inflicted on 
the real corporal agent ; and during 
this fearful divorce of soul and body, 
that the latter remains as in a deep sleep, 
which nothing can disturb or interrupt 
till its suffering tenant is restored by the 
power that divided them. Such things 
have we heard, and what would make 
the hair stand upright, if told, of the 
tortures of the more subtle part, whose 
powers of sensation are rendered incon- 
ceivably acute by this unnatural dissolu- 
tion, to whom the state itself is a state 
of dark, dream-like suffering, through 
which they labour with a feeling of op- 
pression feverous, and dim, and dense, 
such as accompanies the presence of the 
night-mare To such a cause he persists 
to ascribe the appearances in the vault ; 
for he firmly believes that terrible stran- 
ger a being not of this earth. Nor have 
I any means of contending with his be- 
lief; his actions and character, so far as 

I have 

108 FATAL revenge; on, 

I have been told them, have lapped me 
in wonder." — '^ Oh, Blessed Mother! 
Blessed Mother, have mercy on him! 
heal his mind and forgive his sins ! Holy 
St. Agatha, have n:iercy ! Holy St. Ro- 
solia, have mercy on him I" He beat his 
breast and crossed himself, and Angellini 
joined in his aspirations. *' These pa- 
pers," said he, after a pause, '^ I have 
since received, are all sudden starts, of 
pain and terror, without connection, 
without subject. See how they are writ- 
ten ; how the hand must have trembled 
that wrote these 1 

Fragments of Letters from IppoUto to 

*' My mind is become utterly waste 
and desolate ; existence lies before me 
without form or colour. I am the man 
whose fate has been made known to him, 
who has no part in life but its close:; 



"whose thoito'hts bear him over tlie whoT^ 
earth, without a passing glance, and set 
liim down before tlie grave. And mine, 
where shall it be dug ? Aye, there is tbe 
sting of death ! I must lie in the dust, 
in the shadow of the gibbet and the 
wheel! Dying villains shall pray that 
their bones may not be thrown near 
mine ! Oh, if this must be, that I could 
wrap my head i^n darkness, in deep death- 
like sleep, and pass away the term with- 
out a thought till my hour came on! 
and then to rush with blind arm, with 
headlong blow, that is struck before it 
is felt, and at the same moment to feel 
it returned home to my heart, sure an<l 
firm; before recollection return, while I 
am yet in the doubt of a horrid dream ! 
before I hear the wonder, and the cry, 
and the tale; before I feel the cursed 
gaze of mankind on me, straining to see 
the murderer. And then to lie down, 
forgotten for ever, clean passed away 


no FATAL revenge; OR, 

from note or memory of man ; my name 
unknown, my grave in the sands of a 
desert. Ob, that it might be thus ! for 
though I must perish by a ruffian's fate, 
I have not a ruffian's heart. No, it is 
the very omnipotence of fate to thwart, 
to humble, to crush, to mix opposites 
that loath each other ; to bid the proud 
heart become acquainted with pollution 
and abject wretchedness. Never was a 
heart that kindled as mine did with the 
love of all that is dear to the young, the 
ardent, the high principled mind. My 
race of pleasure and glory seemed to be 
endless ; it was but next spring to quit 
the levities of Naples, to enter as a cadet 
yith an assumed name into the Spanish 
service, and never lo avow that of Mon- 
torio till the commandant should ask the 
name of the youth who had done some 
distinguished service : this was my pur- 
pose. And I must perish on a scaffold, 
or in a dungeon, where lives are crushed 



out in silence and darkness ! No, here 
there is no hope; no dignity can be 
given to an end like this ; no decent 
pride of death. To die for some act that 
was the burst of passion, the excess of 
erring principle; to see among the mul- 
titude a thousand whose hearts are with 
you, who weep, and pray for, and bless 
you as your firm step ascends tlie scaf- 
fold ; nay, to struggle madly for the 
chance of life, to grapple with the exe- 
cutioner, to spring over the edge of the 
platform, to dash with chains through 
the guard, to trust to the sympathy of 
the sheltering crowd for your escape ; to 
do this, while only conscious of erring 
as many have erred, would be to me more 
delightful than life. But, pitiless hea- 
ven ! must I be dragg1?d with the mean- 
ness of guilt, the villain-visage, in whose 
lines I shall hear them, as I crawl along*, 
tracing the characters of vice; my felon 
hands tied behind, while the confessor, ' 
I shuddering 


sliuddering at the monster, can haiflly 
bid him not despair. Tl)is — this — 01 v 
blessed heaven ! let me run mad ! Will 
he not take these ])urning tears, this scat- 
tered hair, this broken heart, and spare 
me but the foul deed, spare me but the 
shame, the public curse, the public gaze, 
and I will bear the pain, silently, deeply, 
while nature will bear it ! 

*' I am much in solitude; when I am 
forced to go amongst men, I often feel 
myself examining their faces with a sus- 
picion that makes them shrink— and me, 
too, when I am conscious of it. I am, 
therefore, much in solitude ; for who can 
bear the sight of the human face when 
once it has become offensive ? Horrid 
thought is my only companion ! the 
worst of that came to me la^t night. 
Was it only a passing thought of fear, 
or was it one of those dark intimations 
that latterly, I think, often visit me? 

A mind 


A mind in my state may m ell be con- 
ceived a fit medium for the agency of 
unearthly natures. I thouglu, for a 
moment, I was possessed ; I did, for a 
moment, think it ! In truth, there are 
such figluings within me, I feel I am 
yet so unlike what I am told I must be, 
my head has so many thoughts so like 
my former self, my heart has still so many 
pulses that are yet alive to the love of 
grace, that I almost doubt if ever I caa 
wittingly do the unnatural deed — if ever 
I can have the heart to be a wretch. 
When these thoughts rise in me, I try 
to crush them ; I shriek, I stamp, I 
beat my head ; I say with a horrid laugh 
— these are no thoughts for the murderer ! 
I must be wild, wreckless ; hard as the 
rock, rough as the storm. I try to 
chase these cruel lingerings of my former 
nature, and be thoroughly, inveterately, 
the wretch 1 ought to be. It was in such 
a struggle last night (that almost drove 


114 FATAL revenge; OR 

me to pray for the consummation of my 
wretchedness) ; for a moment I thought 
I was possessed ; that the evil one had 
not utterlif prevailed ; that I would feel 
him hourly growing stronger within me, 
drying up the springs of nature, searing 
my conscience, and shutting up my soul, 
till — Oh, language cannot follow that 
thought ! I was standing when it came 
to me, and I feared to look into the glass 
opposite me, least I should see my breath 
inflamed, or my eyes glisten with strange 
intelligence, or my hairs pointed and 
tipt with fire, or my foot — Oh, this can- 
not, cannot surely last much longer ! — 

# ij^ # * # life- # * 

'* 1 thought that I felt the worst; that 
long anticipation had made tne fami- 
liar with all horrors ; that in thought I 
had drank the dregs, and wrung them 
out. I was deceived ; for our capacity 
of bearing pain is always deceiving us. 
Whom could I have believed who would 



have told me what I could support a short 
space back? Last night I had thought 
long on it ; I went to bed ; I slept. I 
dreamt that I had done it, that I had in 
very deed done it. Every hair on my 
head I felt distinctly upright ; every 
nerve and muscle was strained and stif- 
fened out ; my eyes were coals of fire ; 
my fingers were distended into talons; 
I w^as drenched with the sweat of deadly 
agony. Even in my sleep I felt I saidj 
*' Oh, reverse time, but for one moment! 
let this be but to come ; let me be the 
thrall of horrible expectation for ever 1'* 
Sleep could not long continue. I awoke, 
awoke in transport, awoke exclaiming, 
*^ I am not a murderer!" It was long 
before my senses returned perfectly ; but 
when they did, I remembered ere long I 
must feel this, and seek to waken from 
it in vain. Oh, then, I wished to pass 
life in such a dream, so I might never 
waken to such a conviction ! My reason 


116 FATAL revenge; OR, 

is much obscured ; mine eyes are strained 
and burning; mine ears have a roar m 
them, like tliat of ocean, that is never 
diminished. Nature is dark to me, and 
mankind a spectre. Yet, yet, my suf- 
ferings are but begun ! 

For some time past I had a wretched 
resource, such as wretches have. Even 
that has failed me utterly. The events 
that liave befallen me, the objects that 
surround me nightly, bear so little re- 
semblance to reality, that often they ap- 
peared to me the images of a dream, a 
dark, haunted dream. For a moment I 
dared to think I was not doomed to be a 
murderer ! In the morning, those ob- 
jects were as clear and palpable as any 
action I had ever witnessed or performed ; 
at evening, with the help of wine and 
high play, to which I forced myself, they 
became doubtful, and sometimes disap- 
peared. What must that be to which 



the rao'c of drunkenness and of oamins: 
js a relief? But last night and the night 
before, he appeared to ni*" amid crowds 
to whom I had run for shelter in vain ; 
lie reminded me of the hour, he shewed 
the dagger, he scared all around, he bore 
me away. Oh, when I saw him break 
the last fence I had again t him, I felt 
like the wrecked wretch, who at night- 
fall lights his few faggots to deter the 
wild beasts from approaching him, and 
sees by their blaze the tiger couching to 
spring over them and seize him. I have 
no power of resistance, no hope of escape ; 
I am the prey of the powers of darkness! 
Oh, how terrible is this sinking of the 
soul, this closing round of tiie utter 
darkness!" *****=*** 

Angellini was proceeding to examine 
more of these extraordinary papers, when 
he and his companion were startled by 
an unusual so^nd rlidt murmured near 
them. The^ n^ccned not in apprehen&Ion, 


118 FATAL revenge; OR, 

for within the walls of the Inquisition 
there are no listeners hut in curiosity. 
At that moment Angellini ohserved a re- 
markable change in the appearance of 
the sea, which was flowing beneath their 
•windows ; it suddenly retreated to a vast 
distance, leaving its bed bare and heav- 
ing, and stranding in a moment the num- 
berless small vessels Avhich were sailing 
or anchored in it in total security, and 
whose bulged and scattered fragments 
were spread over the surface as far as it 
was yet visible. Angellini and his com- 
panion were too well acquainted with the 
climate to be ignorant of the purport of 
these dreadful phenomena, and if they 
had, the loud and terrible cry that rose 
from the city and the shore would not 
have allowed them to be long so. They 
now could see distinctly crowds of peo- 
ple rushing to the shore from every quar- 
ter, they ran for refuge and safety, for 
in their houses it app^ai^d ipipossible to 



continue longer; but when they found 
the beach naked, the vessels destroyed, 
and the sea receding almost from their 
view, they stood aghast, and eyed each 
other in speechless despair. 

Angellini, endeavouring to subdue the 
terrors of nature by the discharge of his 
official duties, recollected that unless the 
shocks were unusually violent, it was pro- 
bable the fabric would resist them, and that 
at least while anv work of man remained, 
a pile which had stood for centuries would 
be safe. While he was yet debating the 
probable direction of the next shock, he 
was stunned by a sound, which he in 
vain endeavoured to believe proceeded 
from the multitude on the shore ; it was 
the ocean returning in its strength, in a 
strength that seemed to threaten the 
bounds of nature. In the next moment 
they beheld it approaching as a moun- 
tain, the black concave of its waters dark- 
ening on the view like a cavern. Angel- 



lini, who was hastening from the room, 
stood riveted to ihe spot for an instant 
of horrible expectation. It burst, and 
he felt the building siiake to its base. 
It yet stood, ho \ever, and he rushed 
out to order the guard to remove the 
prisoners, wlio were lodged in chambers 
hollowed out of the rock beneath the 
foundations of the fabric, where he feared 
the sea, in these convulsive workings, 
might penetrate, and the inhabitants of 
them perish miserably. He gave his 
orders eageiiy to the p oper officer, who 
bowing profoundly, assured him ** the 
prisoners were perfectly safe." — ** Safe 1" 
repeated Angellini, ^' they are safe, in- 
deedj from the power of man ; but I wish 
to put them in a capacity of avoiding 
the most deplorable of all modes of de- 
struction." — ** With submission, Signor, 
I apprehend it would be bettei policy to 
leave them where they are," said the of- 
ficer. '' Policy !" said Angeiliui with 



some indignation, *' this is rather a mo- 
ment for humanity." — '' Of that I do 
not pretend to be a judge," said the 
officer; ^' but v/ere the prisoners of my 
mind, they would rather die v/here they 
are, than hve to perish at the stake." 

AngelHni had but just time to repeat his 
orders, when a second and a third shock 
made the walls around him vibrate visi- 
bly, while a large aperture yawning in 
that opposite him, he beheld through it 
the towers of the fabric tottering, and 
the inner court strewn with fragments of 
battlements and columns. All was now 
confusion and horror ; the cries of the 
sufferers from the town were audible amid 
the tumult of destruction ; but on the 
ministers of the Inquisition, callous from 
habitual misery, and frozen by a life of 
monotony, the effect was much dimi- 
nished in point of terror and consterna- 
tion : they moved with that stalking si- 
lence with which they traversed the pas- 
voL. fi/T. G ' sages 


usages on ordinary occasions. The pri- 
soners whose situation exposed them to 
danger were by Angellini's direction 
placed in a court, where, though guard- 
ed, their motions were at hberty, should 
they be necessary to their own safety. 
Angellini, when half an hour had elapsed 
without a renewal of danger, began to 
examine the structure, whose gigantic 
strength had resisted a shock that had 
almost laid a city in ruins. The tower 
alone seemed shattered by the concus- 
sion ; its inner front, which faced the 
court, was marked with some traces of 
injury, but the outer wall seemed shaken 
into ruins, for Angellini saw the bare 
and pointed ridges of the roof, and caught 
the gleams of the outer sky through the 
gratings which light had never penetrated 
before. He hastily demanded, had any 
one been confined in that tower? and 
was told it had been the prison of the 
young nobleman from Naples. He in- 


stantly ordered some of the officers to 
ascend the remains of the staircase, that 
hung fearfully pendulous, and visible oa 
the outside of the fractured wall. They 
obeyed him, but after some delay returned 
with horror in their faces, affirming that 
of the prisoner there was not a vestige 
in any part of the building; they averred 
also, that it was impossible for him to 
have escaped by human means, for their 
own approach to his apartment had been 
only rendered practicable by the falling in 
of part of the building as they were ascend- 
ing the stairs, which had enabled them 
with some difficulty and danger to reach 
and find his chamber empty. 

From the looks and gestures which ac- 
companied this information, and the whis- 
pers with which it was continued, the pri- 
soners conjectured that it contained other 
circumstances still more extraordinary. 
Angellini, when it was concluded, raising 
his eyes to the ruin, so fearful and im- 
o 2 passable, 

124 FATAL revenge; OR, 

passable, thought with a mixture of hor- 
ror and compassion on the mysterious 
fate of this unfortunate young man, and 
for a moment submitted his strong mind 
to the belief of the marvellous things 
superstition had told of him. 




I am now come from gazing on the sight : 
From bank to bank the red-swoln river roars. 
Crowds now are standing upon either shore 
In awful silence, not a sound is heard 
But the flood*s awful voice, and from the city 
A dismal bell heard thi-ough the air by starts. 

When Annibal, still attended by Fllip- 
po, amved at Capua, he learned that 
his relative resided at Puzzoli, where he 
had been removed for the enjoyment of a 
distinguished benefice. Disappointed by 
the delay, and alarmed by tlie danger of 


126 FATAL revenge; or, 

exposure, he nevertheless was compelled, 
by the exigency of his finances, to pur- 
sue him to Puzzoli with this relative, 
who was his mother's uncle. Annibal 
had from his youth been a favourite, and 
what was of greater consequence, his 
father had long been the reverse, in con- 
sequence of some family disagreements : 
both from his fondness and resentment, 
therefore, he hoped for assistance, and, 
at least, believed himself secure of con- 
fidence and protection. 

He therefore hastened to Puzzoli, and 
rested on his way at a sniall town in its 
neighbourhood, purporting to reach it 
the follov|^ng day. Slight shocks of the 
preceding earthquake had been felt in the 
country, and a considerable degree of 
alarm prevailed among the inhabitants, 
which, as usual, they endeavoured to 
appease by ceremonies and processions. 
A river, that flowed near the town, had 
lately undergone such extraordinary 



changes, had swoln with such sudden; 
violence, and then subsided without any 
apparent cause, that the people were not 
only terrified with the expectation of" 
what these changes indicated, but with 
the more obvious danger it threatened to 
their lives and habitations. Annibal,- wha 
was shewn into a room of the inn which 
commanded a view of the river, saw not 
without solicitude and fear the rush of 
its dark, turbid waters, sometimes 
wrought into eddies, and sometimes 
checked by invisible obstructions, its roar 
often mingled with other sounds, of 
which the causes were unknown, and its 
waters flushed with the sullen sanguine 
hues of a sun, setting amid the clouds 
of a gathering storm. *' Illustrious Sig- 
nor, " said the host, entering with pre- 
parations for supper, *' you have arrived 
at the most fortunate time imaginable; 
we have had threatenings of an earth- 
quake and inundation these four days." — 

i28 . FATAL revenge; OR, 

** You flatter me highly," said Annibal 
jocularly. *' May I perish if I do, Sig- 
iior," said the man earnestly ; *' I think 
it by no means improbable that this roof 
may be in ruins over your head to-night." 
— " You must explain the mystery of 
this good fortune to me," said Annibal 
smiling, " I confess I am unable to com- 
prehend how being buried in the ruins 
of your house is a subject on which I can 
congratulate myself." — " Why, Signor, 
is it possible you can live in Italy, and 
not know that whenever we are threat- 
ened with danger the abbess of the Ursu* 
line convent and the prior of our mo- 
nastery unite in a solemn procession to 
the river, and produce all their relics to 
prevent an inundation ; and that cere- 
monies are performed, and crowds col- 
lected, and such a multitude of strangers 
and spectators pours into the town to 
witness it, that if the inundation swept 
away half the town, the remainder are 



happier for it all their life. It is quite a 
jubilee, I assure you, Siguor, only that 
it occurs somewhat ofteuer; if Provi- 
dence continues to favour us, as it has 
clone of late, I expect to see scarce a 
house standing." — " You will allow me, 
however," said Annibal, *' to quit yours 
before so desirable an event occurs, as I 
should be equally unwilling to prevent 
or to partake its good fortune." 

Shocked at the man's insensibility, 
and determined not to augment profits 
thus iniquitously desired, he quitted the 
house and wandered towards the river. 
It was now night, deepened by the dark- 
ness of a cloudy sky, and Annibal's mind, 
under the influence of time and place, 
involuntarily adopted a subject of con- 
genial meditation. He thought of his 
strange fate, of events no conjecture 
could solve, and no contemplation could 
divest of terror ; the precise frame of his 
mind was critical and dangerous, per- 
G 3 hap.s 


haps even more so than his brother's. 
Ippolito was always accustomed to act 
from impulse, Annibal from conviction. 
But impulse is more variable than con- 
viction ; and therefore, though Ippolito's 
emotions were more vehement, his mind 
was much more disengaged than his bro- 
ther's. He had no distinct belief of the 
character of his persecutor, nor any clear 
impre-ssions of the influence exercised on 
himself; he had never seriously debated 
whether it was the production of human 
or superhuman powers ; he resisted it 
merely because it was painful and atro- 
cious ; instead of bending his mind to 
discover whether he was the victim of 
imposture or the agent of destiny ; he 
expended his energies in sallies of rage 
and convulsions of resistance. Into the 
deeper mind of Annibal, one conviction 
had radically wrought itself, that of his 
being visited by the inmate of another 
world. What relief he had enjoyed un- 


der tills terrible impression was merely 
local and furtive, protluced by change 
of place and vicissitudes of action, vio- 
lent and sudden : but the impression re- 
maiiicd slumbering, but not extinct, 
ready to resume its force and character 
wiiencver the cause that had produced it 
should recur. Hence, while Ippolito was 
almost in despair, his very violence of 
nature formed a security against the ob- 
ject he dreaded, as poison is often ex- 
pelled by the convulsions it produces ;. 
W'liile Annibal, whose tranquillity seemed; 
almost unimpaired, nourished an unsus-r 
pected tendency to the very deed, from 
whose remote apprehension the frame o£ 
his mind flattered him with a treacherous 
immunity. He walked alone. His men tall 
debate, which occupied some hours, might 
be reduced to the following propositions:: 
** I have seen a departed spirit, an inha- 
bitant of those regions which are invi- 
sible to man , , I cannot resist the evi- 

132 FATAL revenge; or, 

denc^s of his appearance and ministry ; 
I draw them as much from the circum- 
stances that preceded and followed, as 
from those that accompanied it. There 
was a regularity of disposition, a subor- 
dination of parts, a progress of develop e- 
ment, which indicate the agency of an 
intelligent being; and if intelligent, cer- 
tainly not human. ■ He prompts me to a 
crime, revolting to nature and fatal to 
my own life, reputation, and perhaps 
immortal interests. I have resisted him, 
for it requires no debate to reject evil so 
positive and heinous ; I have resisted 
him hitherto ; but who can tell how long 
he may resist a being whose powers are 
the powers of another world ? nay, who 
can tell how far he is right in resisting 
him? Distance of place has in a mea- 
sure relieved me from this persecution ; 
but should he pursue me where I am fly- 
ing, I feel I have no further resource, 
no remaining powers of defence; the evi- 


dence of his character, the truth of his 
commission, it will then be no longer 
possible to resist. Far be that day from* 
me, Oh, heaven ! In my present state 
my misery is solitary and incommunica- 
ble ; I have no associate, I can have 
none ; for unimaginable distress there is 
no sympathy ; he who has felt as I do 
might pity me ; but where shall I find 
him ? What being is there who holds 
communication authentic and avowed 
with the world of spirits ? None! The 
tenderest friend or relative must regard 
me as a visionary, a madman, or an im- 
postor, and to my other sufferings I need 
not voluntarily add contempt. To im- 
plore the aids of the church is equally 
hopeless ; the consequence of confession 
would probably be immurement in the 
Inquisition ! they would listen to me, 
not as one for whom something was to 
be done, but from whom something was 
to be learned ; they would listen to the 


134 FATAL revenge; or, 

tale of suft(^iing or of guilt, only for the 
sake of co^suleiinp" how far the interest 
of the chur' h niight he prcinioted by the 
issueof the aifair. I should be ever after- 
wards to them an object of vigilance and. 
suspicion, they >vould presume on my 
distress to predominate over my freedom 
and my intellects ; they wouhl macerate 
my body and enfeeble my mind ; and, 
after all, if my persecution be not a vi^ 
sionary one, they would fail to protect 
me from it, and if it be I am able to^ 
protect myself" 

He was pleased with the result of 
his meditation; for though he had 
not adopted any resolution, he had ap- 
peared to think with the vigour of re- 
solution : he had, in fact, anchored 
without a bottom, but the increasing 
crowds and noise would have prevented 
any further exercise of mind, had he. 
been disposed to it. He found, accord- 
ing to his host's account, multitudes 
assembled, and multitudes more assem- 



Lliiig, though it was now near midnight, 
and the appearance both of the sky 
and the waters was menacing. Thei^ 
heeded it not, the triumph of seeing their 
saints acquainting the river in the rage 
of inundation, *' that thus far should he 
go and no further," was heightened by 
the increased wealth and consequence 
which this confluence of strangers gave 
their town, and both were exalted by 
that love of pleasure, and sensibility of 
external objects, for which the Italians 
are distinguished, and which the desire 
to gratify must be incalculaby powerful 
in a people, who enjoy but few spec- 
tacles of splendour, or opportunities of 
festivity, but what religion affords them. 
Annibal was drav/n along by the crowd, 
and learned among them that the Abbess 
and her train were to come from a neigh- 
bouring convent, with relics of peculiar 
virtue ; that they were to be met at the 
entrance of the town by the religious 



orders who inhabited it, and that both 
Avere to march with united forces to the 
very brink of the river, and pronounce 
a solemn interdiction of its further 
outrages. Annibal, who was a good 
Catholic, believed his mind would be 
refreshed, as well as his senses delighted, 
by this act of religion, and therefore wil- 
lingly mingled in the crowd, amused 
even by the preparations for the ceremo- 
ny, by^ the murmur and concourse of 
so vast a multitude, over whose visages, 
tinged with various shawdowings of con- 
fidence and fear, the torches by which they 
were seen, flung an expression wildly 
animated and picturesque. 

Through the darkness of the night he 
could see distinctly the lights that twinkled 
from the convent, and often he listened to 
catch the chaunt of their solemn service, 
as the low, intermitted gale breathed past 
him, but could only hear the roarings of 
the river, which filled up the hushed 



murmurs of the crowd, with a sound 
strange and deep ; at length a bell from 
the convent, which was caught and 
answered by those in the town, gave 
signal that the procession had set out. 
The crowd pressed forward to meet and 
join it, and Annibal was borne on by the 
rest. It was marked by every circum- 
stance of fantastic splendour, by which 
the unhappy inmates of a convent try to 
diversify hopeless monotony, and employ 
the talents which are denied their pro- 
per and social exercise. All the wealth 
of the convent was displayed, several 
nuns were arrayed in the habits and 
characters of those whose relics they 
bore. The Abbess herself, assisted by 
four lay- sisters, supported an enormous 
piece of tapestry, embroidered with the 
life of their patroness, St. Ursula, whose 
figure in wax, larger than the life, and 
blazing with jewels, followed in the rear 
of her own atchievements. But the 


138 FATAL revenge; or 

multltucle forgot every other objectj 
"when the procession closed with a figure, 
such as their eyes never before had 
beheld : it was a lay-sister, habited as 
the genius of martyrdoin, and bearing 
a relic of more value than the whole 
wealth of the convent, it was the head 
of St. Catharine, which by particular 
providence had found its way from Alex- 
andria, where it had been severed from 
her body, in the reign of the tyrant 
Maxim in, to Italy. This saint had a 
special anti[)athy to inundations and 
earthquakes, which she took care to 
manifest in so spirited a minner, that 
the river had upon all former occasions 
paid the highest deference to her hy- 
drophobia, by instantly retreating to its 
natural current. This inestimable relic, 
set in gold, and placed in a crystal 
case, never had atrracted the attention 
of the faithful so little. They hung 
upon, they blessed, they almost wor- 


shipped the beautiful representative of 
martyrdom. She was placed aloft, on 
a car of curious construction ; it was 
entirely composed of racks, crosses, and 
instruments of death and torture, woven 
with such skilful intricacy as to preserve 
their distinct forms, and yet form a spa- 
cious vehicle ; at due intervals imps of 
temptation and punishment were peeping 
at the genius with faces of ugly malig- 
nity, and derisive grimace. She stood 
in the centre of the machine, in the 
attitude of trampling on the terrible 
apparatus, on which she cast from time 
to time looks of contempt, such as the 
serenity of angelic beauty may spare, 
A robe of white floated round her like 
a cloud, one hand held the head of Su 
Catharine, the other waved a branch of 
amaranth, her locks were wreathed with 
a coronal of palms, and her eyes were 
upturned to a resplendent figure, which, 
bending from the canopy of purple, ex- 

140 FATAL revenge; OR, 

tended to her a crown of gems, and 
pointed her view to heaven. Her form 
breathed immortality, her vestments 
seemed to emit liglit as they moved 
on a face pale with early confinement 
and habitual sorrow, the murmurs of 
adoration, the awakened consciousness 
of beauty, and the enthusiasm of re- 
ligious drama, had kindled a radiance 
that seemed borrowed from the regions 
her view was directed to. The faithful felt 
their devotion exalted, and the libertine 
was converted, as they beheld her. By a 
singular chance her face was concealed 
from Annibal as her car passed the spot 
where he stood. He was again borne on 
by the multitude, who hastened to the 
river, on the bank of which the religious 
orders were already assembled ; the so- 
lemn sound of their chaunting mixing 
with its roar, and their line of dark 
forms, so diversified by the shadowy 
picturing^ of torch-light, here heaped 



in tumultuous darkness, and there flash- 
ing out in abrupt and fantastic light, that 
the eye sought in vain for a resemblance 
to known or common objects, and 
struggled to believe itself in the regions 
of life. After prayer and hymn, the 
various relics were exposed, that of St. 
Catharine was reserved for the last. 
At length the genius descended, and 
through crowds that prostrated them- 
selves before her in doubtful devotion, 
adv^anced to the brink of the river. 
After a short prayer she exposed the 
sacred head to the M^aters, and waved 
it with a gesture of inspiring command. 
At that moment, the night and the 
dark surface of the waters were swept 
by a glare of sudden light, a meteor 
low-hung and lurid passed ov^er the up- 
turned visages of the multitude, and 
disappearing in the darkness, left a train 
of bluish sparkles behind. The crowd, 
in the joy of confidence, believing it to 
7 be 

I4S5 FATAL revenge; or, 

be a signal of divine acceptance, burst 
into a shout of triumph, and the genius, 
flushed with the radiance of inspiration, 
turned to ascend her car, with a step 
that seemed to discard the earth. Her 
veil floated back with the elevation of 
her motion ; Annibal beheld her face, 
without a shade or interruption, it was 
the face of Erminia, the original of the 
picture cherished by fantastic passion, 
and preserved without a hope of dis« 
covery. Carried beyond himself, he 
rushed through the crowd, he called on 
her in a voice the murmur of thousands 
could not suppress, he addressed her 
in alternate rapture and awe, he invoked 
her as an angel of light, and supplicated 
her as the beloved of his heart. The 
crowd, incensed and astonished, col- 
lected round him in numbers, which 
he strove to break through in vain, 
but still he contended, expostulated, 
and intreated, and holding out the pic- 
$ ture , 


ture, bid them behold a resistless witness of 
the truth of his passion, and the identity 
of its object. The crowd still surround- 
ed and repelled, but he still spoke with 
more vivid eloquence, more animated 
passion, for he could perceive, at this 
moment, that the object he addressed, 
amid the pomp of procession, and the 
triumph almost of deification, had paus- 
ed, and beheld him with a look in which 
surprize was quite unmixed with anger. 
Emboldened, he burst from the crowd 
with sudden strength, and implored hex 
but to pause, but to listen. His story 
was wild, but true; he had seen her 
picture where she had perhaps never 
been. He had devoted his heart to the 
resemblance, and his life to the pursuit 
of her ; he had unexpectedij^, miracu- 
lously found her, and again he poured 
out before her, in tones no woman could 
hear unmoved, his passion, heightened 
by visionary feeling, and romantic dis- 


144 FATAL revenge; or, 

But at this inoment the murmurs 
of the crowd, and the angry inter- 
ference of the ecclesiastics, were lost 
in an universal roar of horror, and a 
rush of sudden flight, that, like the 
torrent it shunned, hore every thing he- 
fore it. The river, with no physical 
cause, hut suhterraneous and invisible 
convulsions, suddenly rose with the rage 
of a tempest, and bearing down bank 
and mound, poured a waste of watery 
ruin on every side. There is a darkness 
of distress, a helplessness" of resistance, 
an obscurity of fear, in the dread of 
perishing by water, such as are not found 
in even more terrible modes of destruc- 
tion ; but here, where safety was ob- 
structed by multitudes, and the horrors 
of desolation were aggravated by recent 
triumph, where the eye dreaded even 
darkness as danger, and the foot knew 
not in M'hat element its next step would 
be plunged ; the confusion and terror 



were beyond all power of description, and 
Annibal felt himself liurried into in- 
voluntary safety, while his ejes were yet 
strained to discover the situation of her, 
to perish with whom was the only thought 
of the moment. The torrent of flight, 
however, which he resisted in vain, 
never ceased, till he was almost in the 
centre of the town, where the bed-rid 
and diseased were at that moment la- 
menting their absence from a ceremony 
from which thev never could have 
escaued with life. Here the crowd 


paused to be assured of their safety, and 
Annibal, taking advantage of the first 
power of voluntary motion, hastened 
back to the spot which he feared he 
would now visit in vain. He was often 
obstructed by groups of fugitives, who 
still ran, though they were far from dan- 
ger, but when he came near the brink 
of the v/ater, which was now extended 
to the suburbs of the town, all was 
VOL. III. H deso- 

146 FATAL revenge; OH, 

desolation, still and dark, save for the 
hoarse dashing of the waters, contend- 
ing with obstructions it had not yet 
removed, and the solitary, intermitted 
shriek of some wanderer, whom even 
the terrors of the scene could not drive 
away from calling on the names of those 
they could hope to see no niore, and 
pausing to distinguish was it the cry 
of death, or only the sullen rush of the 
water tliat answered them. He had 
wandered along the margin of the 
waters, sometimes climbing over the re- 
mains of half-demolished buildings, and 
sometimes wading through shallows, en- 
cumbered by corses. He had no name to 
call on ; and over the dark and tossing 
w^aste before him, no power of sight 
could discover any thing but occasional 
streaks of light, where the yet unex- J 
tinguished torches blazed on casual 
eminences, or were suspended from case- 
ments to assist the sufferers. At length, 



on a bank he descried a number of peo- 
ple who appeared to have forgotten their 
personal sufferings in souie object of 
distinguished distress; wlien he reached 
the spot \\Q (Hscovered it. 

The ruins of a bridge, which had once 
joined the shore, were now scarce seen in 
the midtide of the stream ; arcli after arch yielded to the force of the torrent, and 
but a segment of the last yet remained, 
over v/hose rent and tottering fragments, 
every successive burst of the flood left 
a trace of foam higher than the last, 
a form was visible on the extreme ridge. 
Sometimes it was seen with a despairing 
hand, to wave a part of its garment to- 
wards the shore, from which it was only 
answered with outspread arms and fruit- 
less cries. Annibal, bending from the 
bank, gazed on it ; his sight, quickened 
by fear, could not fail : Avith a cry, in 
which anguish was wildly mixed with 
joy, he tore off his mantle, and plunged 
H 2 into 

1 4'8 FA T A L n E V K N G E ; OK, 

into the stream. He was a dexterons 
and bold swimmer, but had never before 
encountered such difficulties. The cur- 
rents were adverse and irregular, the 
depths uncertain, and the obstacles 
(arising from fragments of trees, build- 
ings, and human corses, which floated 
on the tide, or rose in eddying masses,) 
were such as neither skill nor sti-ength 
could easily contend with ; but as he 
struggled onward, every moment sti- 
mulated his efforts, for every moment 
the form became more distinct, and the 
distress more acute. With incredible ex- 
ertions, he had reached the single and 
tottering arch ; he grasped its projecting 
fragments, which he fdt loose in his 
grasp, and in accents scarce audible, 
besouerht her to throw herself into his 
arms, while yet it was possible for him 
•to save her. In the stupor of fear, 
she appeared to listen without a capacity 
of effort, till fragment after fragment 



orumbling from lier hold, and the dash- 
ing of the spray rising to her breast, and 
AnnibaFs despairing adjurations ahiiost 
lost in the deepening rush of the waters, 
she ceased to cling to the ruin, rather 
from weakness tlian energy, and sank 
into his arms. He received her with a 
mixture of joy and terror, but when 
lie saw the dark waste he had to repass, 
his strength diminished, his burthen en- 
creased, and the roar of the waters 
deepening round him, his heart sank 
within him, and his eiforts became the 
blind strivings of despair. Still, however, 
lie struggled onward, but obstructions in- 
creased ; he had no longer any definite 
point to fix on or to reach ; the shore 
seemed removed to an endless distance. 
He plunged on without regular effort or 
object, till anguish succeeding to hope, 
and courage exhausted on invincible dif- 
ficulty, all iccoliection forsook him, and 
he 6'im\y remembered, as in a dream, 



that ?ie still held he?' he could no longer 
save, even when the waters were closing 
over their heads, and, to perish together, 
was all that hope could promise. 

When he recovered his faculties, he he- 
lieved hiniself in the regions of death; all 
was dark, and cold, and silent: he lay for 
some moments in strange expectation, 
till he felt the warmth of life returning, 
and was assured that he still existed. 
He arose, he felt his limbs stiff and 
drenched, but capable of motion ; he 
felt his way before him, and his hands 
touched walls that were damp and stony ; 
he called aloud, but his voice Avas re- 
pressed, as if by low roofs and a con- 
tracted space. As he still proceeded, 
lie distinctly perceived steps retreating 
before him; he again called on the per- 
son he believed so near him, and was 
answered by a faint cry of fear, from 
a voice that made him pursue it as if 
he were winged. At that moment, the 



vault he \ras traversing, opening above 
his head, the tirst beams of a wan, be- 
cloLulecl moon fell through the chasm, 
and discovered a female fii^ure standiuo- 
near him, in an attitude of flight and 
terror. Annibal advanced, and the fe- 
male again attempted to fly, though 
evidently scarce able to stand. Annibal 
flung himself on his knees, and throwing 
away his sword, addressed her in a voice 
and attitude to disarm all fear; he ad- 
jured her not to fly from one who had 
lately hazarded life to preserve her. He 
mingled the tenderness of passion with 
the strength of reason ; told her that 
amid danger, to fly from protection was 
madness, and whispered that to convert 
that protection into a duty, and to sanc- 
tion love by religion, had been the pur- 
pose that anim.ated his search, and that 
even ?ioz(} made darkness and terror de- 
lightful, since they favoured the op- 
portunity of urging it. The lady made 


152 FATAL revenge; or, 

no reply, but listened with that gracious 
silence, more flattering than speech to 
the pleadings of a lover. Annibal now 
venturing to rise and approach her, im- 
plored her to permit him to lead her 
to some place of safety, and to avail 
herself of the opportunity yet afforded 
them, by disclosing her nanie and cir- 
cumstances. ** By those long and beau- 
tiful tresses,*' said he, venturing to touch 
them, *^I perceive you are not yet a 
nun ; flatter the boldness this monjent 
teaches me, and tell me you never will 
be one. If your vows are not irre- 
vocable, my rank is high, and my fa- 
mily has influence to absolve you from 
ordinary engagements." As he spoke, 
he ventured still nearer, he wrung the 
wet from her dripping hair, and rending 
off his vest, wra})t it round her, and 
as still she shuddered, almost supported 
her in his arms. Though trembling 
at her own temerity, she neither shrunk 



from liis touch, nor rejected his services, 
and at length murmured in a voice of 
music, ^* I am not a nun, I am a novice 
in the Ursuhne Convent, 1 am unhappy, 
hut 1 scarce knew it till this night. 
I know I should thank you forpresre\ ing 
nu' liie, hut the effort to address you 
deprives me of all power of speech ; and 
1 scarce regret it, when I recollect tliat 
perhaps I have already said too much." 

On Annibal's mind, the eftect of 
these few words, deli\'ered with pause, 
and tremor, and hesitation, was heyond 
all he vet had heard of lan<j[uao'e, 
or imagined of eloquence. Ife pre- 
pared to answer her but found that the 
tremor of whicli she complained, had 
extended to himself But to the speecli- 
less tenderness of passion, which M'ould 
expend hours without an articulate 
sound, there was now no time ; the 
Avaters were yet rushing over their heads, 
and they perceived that the place to 
H 3 which 

1 04 1- A T A L U L V L \ GK ; O R, 

wliich they had been thus mh'aculously 
convejcd, wouUi aftbrd them shelter no 
longer. They hastened therefore to quit 
it, and perceived that tliey were among 
baths hi the extremity of the town, which 
had been delu^-ed in the first fnrv of the 
flood, which was now departing from 
them, and whose retiring tides yet terrified 
them, though a pledge of safety. They 
emerged from them with some difficulty, 
and found themselves about the dawn of 
morning on tlie verge of a spot which 
had once been a vineyard, but which 
was now a shapeless marsh. A little fur- 
ther boats w^ere plying amid recent gar- 
dens, and often entangling their oars 
in the vestments and corses of their 
owners ; and near them a group of eccle- 
siastics were employed, some in offering 
rewards for gems and relics that had 
been lost the preceding night, and others 
with impotent superstition, displaying 
those that had escaped, to check the 



further progress of mischief. A band of 
these, among whom was the confessor of 
the UrsuHne convent, rccoo-nizin^: the 
companion of Annibal, hastily advanced^ 
and reclaimed her. Exhausted with fa- 
tigue and emotion, she sunk into the 
arms of the monks, and Annibal in vain 
watched to read in her closing eye, an in- 
vitation to pursuit, or a promise of hope. 

Spent with the struggles of the night 
he was now returning, but the streets 
were yet full of wailings lie could 
not hear without pausing, and of mi- 
series he could not pass Avithoui an effort 
to relieve ; he therefore continued to 
M'ander amid the scene of devastation, 
affbrdino; all the assistance his streno:th 
yet could spare, and when that failed; 
directing those whose distraction had 
rendered their exertions desultory and 
inefficient. As he was thus employed, 
he observed a person at some distance, 
who sprung from crag to crag, and from 



ruin to ruin, with a giddiness tliat 
seemed to mock at danger, yet apr 
parently witliout any dciinite object. 
His gestures were so v/ild, and his velo- 
city so restless^ that Annibal for a mo- 
ment believed him to be some one, whom 
the late disasters had bereft of reason. 
He was not mistaken in tlie conjecture, 
through his senses, impaired by fatigue, 
had failed to recognize the object; it 
was Iiis faithful Filippo, Avho, frantic at 
the absence of his master, had flown 
from place to place in quest of him all 
night, till his exhausted strength scarce 
sufficed to bear him to Annibal's feet, 
to gasp out the joy, the expression of 
which almost killed him. They return- 
ed together through the remaining 
streets. Of the inn, where they had ar- 
rived the preceding night, tliere was not 
now a vestige, and it was with difficulty 
they procured from thedismayed and scat- 
tered inhabitants, the refreshments their 



fatigue and M^cakness could no longer 

In the dream which visited the loncj 
and placid sleep of Annibal, the angel 
form of the novice floated in a thou- 
sand lights and attitudes. Sometimes she 
moved before him in majesty, and some- 
times witched him with a smile, sometimes 
he caught the skirt of her robe, which v/as 
luminous as a cloud, sometimes a tress 
of her hair, and sometimes her milky 
arms, whose softness seemed to bend at 
his touch. Lapt in the luxury of vision, 
he almost resisted the return of his fa- 
culties, till he remembered a resolution 
he had formed on separating from her, 
of immediately repairing to the convent, 
to learn her name and rank, and inter- 
pose, if possible, to j)revent the o])struc- 
tion her situation threatened to his hopes 
and bis passion. It was evening when 
he arrived at the convent ; much of the 
day had passed in repose, and much in 
preparation to wait on tlie Abbess, for 


15S FATAL reven^ge; or, 

he had no credentials but his person and 
address, which, in spite of recent fatigue 
and previous suffering*, were still pow- 
erfully conciliating. But when he ar- 
rived he found the conHiumity engaged 
in a solemn service, of wliich the object 
was to deprecate the continuance or re- 
petition of the late terrible visitation, 
and implore forgiveness for the sins 
for which it had been inflicted. Annibal 
lingered near the walls, in hope of distin- 
guishing the voice of the beautiful novice 
amid the solemn swell of sound that rose 
at intervals on the stillness of evening. 

In the interval of his next visit 
to the convent, he had sufficiently sub- 
dued the impetuosity of his feelings 
to recollect, that to alarm the Abbess 
by precipitate inquiries; and eager ad- 
miration, would be only to defeat or 
delay his pursuit; when he was admitted, 
therefore, on the following day, be con- 
fined himself to asking with ilhaffected 



indifference, the name, rank, and rela- 
tives of the novice, who had at the late 
festival, personated the genius of mar- 
tyrdom. The Abbess anssv^ered with a 
trepidation, which shewed that &he en- 
deavoured to conceal under embarrassed 
silence, her knowledge of a subject se- 
cret or important unexpectedly revived. 
She informed him that the novice was' 
named Ildefonsa Mauzoli, that her birth 
was mean and shameful, that she had 
been consigned to a monastic life by 
authority she could not resist, and that 
she was now in the last week of her no- 
viciate. Annibal, shocked at the near 
prospect of his loss, now disclosed his 
rank and his passion, but still suppressed 
his name, he warned her not to trifle 
with his feelings hy false intelligence, 
or imperious measures ; he told her of 
his high ecclesiastical interest, from the 
influence of which he had no doubt 
of obtaining a dispensation from the 


l60 FATAL revenge; or, 

vows of lldefonsa, even if she were a 
novice; he indignantly demanded by 
what power could she be devoted to a 
conventual life, exclusive of her own 
consent, and refused to credit the parti- 
culars of her birth, fortunes, and monas- 
tic choice, unless confirmed by herself, 
The abbess, incensed in her turn, de- 
ir.anded by what right a stranger broke 
into her sanctuary, to affront l>er vera- 
city, and dispute her jurisdiction ; she 
blamed herself for the condescension 
which he had abused, and sternly re- 
fused to permit him to see or speak 
with lldefonsa. Annibal, alarmed for 
the consequences of power united with 
malevolence, began to mingle ajbologies 
for his vehemence, with continued inti- 
mations of his rank and influence, and 
of the danger of proceeding with preci- 
pitation, which that influence might 
make her repent and reverse, ** Away, 
Cavalier !" isaid the abbess, *^ and when 



next you disturb the peace of consecra- 
ted walls, let it be with pretences at least 
less shallow than a tale of rank, you 
cannot even confirm by the disclosure of 
your name, and a menace of influence, 
which, whatever be its power, can scarce 
annul the ties between a recluse and her 
God." As she spake she rose to depart, 
and Annibal quitted the convent tor- 
mented with that peculiar fear which 
dreads secret malignity and unconjce- 
tured machinations. 

A thousand times he lamented the 
precipitate harshness of his language to 
the abbess, yet reflected that whatever 
had been his language, the intelligence 
would probal)ly have been the same, that 
still she would have delighted in the 
exercise of petty tyranny, and the in- 
fliction of arbitrary misery. His future 
conduct he knew not how to direct ; he 
dreaded the idea of quitting the neigh- 
bourhood, least some advantage might 
be taken of his absence ; yet to stay was 


16^2 FATAL revenge; or, 

useless, for from personal influence no- 
thing was to be hoped. Amid all his 
plans he \ras astonished at his own teme- 
rity, thus disposing of life, while of life 
he was almost uncertain, and meditating 
the liberation and possession of an ob- 
ject to whom he yet knew not but he 
might be an object of indifference. But 
that his hopes were romantic, was no dis- 
couragement to him ; he took a flattering 
omen from tlve extraordinary events in 
which he had been engaged ; he thought 
that in every thing strange and difficult 
there was a sp'iit congenial to real pas- 
sion. He would not purchase the prize it 
juomised him but on terms of difficulty 
and enterprise, as the cluklren of an an- 
cient nation were not permitted to taste 
their food till they had earned it by tlic 
effort of bringing it down with their ar- 
rows from the summit of a tree. But 
immediate decision on his moven^ents- 
was necessary, and he decided with all 
the judgment he possessed. 



He dismissed Filippo to Puzzoli to 
Ills uncle, with letters in which he 
explained, bat not fully, his situation, 
excused his absence by stating his ap- 
prehensions for the safety of the lady, 
and intreated his uncle's interference 
with the abbess, and the bishop of the 
diocese^ or, if necessary, with higher 
authority, to prevent devotion to a mo- 
nastic life in an object of whom he 
strongly suspected the reluctance to it, 
and whose loss would consign him to 
despair. The strange and liasty vicissi- 
tudes of his life from tranquillity to dan^ 
ger, and from death to love, he endea- 
voured to palliate without revealing what 
he believed of the crimes of his father, 
or what he knew of his own dark perse- 
cution. When he had dismissed Filippo, 
though it was now night, he hastened 
buck to the convent, to gaze on the walls 
that enclosed Ildefonsa, and enjoy that 
nameless delight which passion indulges 


iG-l- lATAL revenge; or, 

in being near those it yet cannot see. 
The night was dark ; he wandered round 
the walls at an unsuspected distance, till 
grown bohl from security he approached 
close to them, and as light after light 
disappeared from the narrow windows, 
delighted himself with thinking he could 
discover the habitation of lldefonsa, or 
imagine her employnients, among which 
he (beamed a thought of him niigiit 
sometimes steal upon the solemnity of 
mingled worship, or the lonely orisons 
of the cell. As he yet lingered, the 
noise of something falling lightly at l"iis 
feet aroused him ; he stooped, and picked 
up a ilower, which as he held in his 
hand he perceived to contain a small 
paper buried in the petal. He in vain 
cndea\'oured to distinguish the writino^ 
but convinced that it contained some- 
thing more than fancy had yet promised, 
he hastened back to the inn, guarding 
the paper by a tliousand superfluous pre- 

THE fa:milv ov moxtouio. 165 

cautions, and calling for a taper, locked 
himself into liis apartment, and sat down 
to feast in solitude. 

The hillet, which was intricately folded, 
contained the followini>' lines: *MVhe- 
ther I am wrong in writing thus, I 
know not, but I fear I shall scarce 
condemn myself if I am. If I do not 
misunderstand your expressions, they 
intin^ate that I am to you the object 
of a passion which I yet know only 
by name, but of which I fear I shall not 
much longer be. ignorant. Thus dan- 
gerous is it to see you ; but greater dan- 
gers beset and terrify me. I am sur- 
rounded b\- enemies and by snares, which 
alone I resist in vain. Helpless and dis- 
mayed, I fly to the first arm that is ex- 
tended for protection. Should you be- 
tray me, remember there is no honour 
in oppressing solitary weakness. The 
same reasons impel me to fear and to 
trust you. Heaven protect me, I know 
not what I do ! At the extremity of the 
5 west 

vrest wall of the garden there is a breach, 
occasioned by the late commotions, which 
has not been repaired ; it is almost con- 
cealed by laurel and arbutus, but to- 
morrow night there will be a moon, and 
you can discover it. I will be there, for 
liberty to walk in the garden till a late 
hour is still allowed me. I write by 
stealth and with difficulty ; I dreaded 
least this note should escape you, and 
enclosed it in a tuberose to ascertain its 
descent. At the same hour to-morrow 
evening, in the same place, a tuberose 
will fall at your feet, if it be possible for 
me to repair to the garden, if not, I 
shall drop a cluster of violets from the 
grating. But is this a dream, such as 
sometimes float on the mists of my cell, 
or shall I indeed sep j5Qu there, and for- 
get while I see you that I am the perse- 
cuted, the disowned, the oppressed I Ide- 
fonsa Mauzoli." 

Over these lines, perused a thousand 



times, and foltkd next his heart, Annibal 
vainly tried to sleep. He rose, and light- 
ing the taper he had extinguished, to 
read it, sat down again to its perusal ; 
while he held it in his hand, he felt as 
if he had a treasure which the lapse of 
ages could not exhaust ; yet when again 
impelled by unsated curiosity, he again 
read it, he felt that its contents were 
brief and ineffectual. 

The day passed in anticipations of de- 
light, and when the moon rose he hasted 
to the convent. He reached unobserved 
the foot of the turret, where he had stood 
the preceding night, and had not been 
there many moments when a tuberose fell 
at his feet ; he scarce gave himself time 
for an exclamation of rapture, and hast- 
ened to the appointed spot. There is no 
telling but to lovers the tumult with 
which he watched for her steps amid the 
murmurs of the foliao-e, and the cao^er- 
ness with which he sprung forward when 



the tremulous glittering of moonlight 
falling on the light leaves of an acacia, 
made him believe he saw her white gar- 
ments floating near him. At length she 
arrived. The first meeting of youthful 
lovers may well be imagined ; the inarti- 
culate murmurs that spake more than 
language, the looks still more eloquent 
than they ; the sighs of vestal beauty 
breathed through the fragrance of a 
moonlight bower, her cheek kindhng in 
its ray, her eye wandering but not with- 
drawn, her steps hesitating yet lingering, 
timidity flushing into confidence, and 
sudden tenderness checked by timidity, 
her whole frame trembling in the alter- 
nate sway of fear and love. And, on the 
other hand, a young man, unlike any of 
his species she had ever before beheld, 
with all the animation of courage, and 
all the attractions of beaut3% who pro- 
mised liberation and who whispered love^ 
it was not in nature to resist it; the time, 



the place breathed to tliem such dioughts 
as were |>erilous to hear ; upon love con- 
fidence is soon engrafted; and Udefonsa 
related her wild and simple story to An- 
nibal before tliey separated. 

'* My infant faculties must have deve- 
loped soon," said she, ** for while almost 
unable to walk, I recollect perfectly being 
every day caressed by a lady whose form 
and mien were so differentfrom those of the 
inmates of the cottage where I was nurs- 
ed, that I invented in infantine endear- 
ment a new term to distinguish her, and 
the sensations with which her presence 
always inspired me. As I grew up, other 
circumstances caught my attention. The 
lady's visits were always in the evenings 
they were passed in tears and lamenta- 
tions, and ended in a hurried departure. 
I also observed my dress and food to be 
different from those of the people with 
^hom I lived, whose attention, t4iough 
4ilways assiduous and affectionate, wa^ 
roi. III. I jedpubled 


redoubled on every visit from the lady. 
When I was about five years old, I was 
also visited by a cavalier, who lavished 
on me the same tenderness and grief as 
the ladj. At length I was suddenly re- 
inov«e<l, and for some time wandered 
through the apartments of a magnificent 
castle, where solemnity and sorrow reign- 
ed in every room, and where I saw the 
cavalier and the lady for a few moments 
together ; they stood at opposite ends of 
the room, surveying each other with 
looks of which I still remember that the 
ano'uish was mixed with distracting' fond- 
iiess. Their souls seemed rushing into 
their eyes; looks were all they durst in- 
dulge in ; each looked as if to speak was 
to be undone; it was in vain I ran 
from one to another, endeavouring with 
childish blandishments to soothe the dis- 
tress I did not understand, and could 
not bear to behold. Children are apt to 
bfi impressed by clamorous grief and vio- 


lent exhibition, but on me tliis scene of 
silent agony made an impression never, 
to be effaced. After th's I returned to 
the cottage, and was visited and caressed 
as usual, till one night, one terrible night, 
never to be explained or forgotten, the 
cavalier came to the cottage with an air 
of distraction, and placing me before 
him on his horse, plunged into the forest 
at the close of evening. My thoughts 
were disengaged, and though disturbed 
I was not terrified. I employed myself in 
observing the furniture of the horse and 
his rider, which were sumptuous and war- 
like. We were now within sight of the 
turrets of a castle, which, tinged with 
the last light of day, rose over the dark 
forest tops, when several ruffians rushed 
on the cavalier from a thicket we were 
passing through. They were no com- 
mon murderers, it was no common spirit 
of vengeance and horror that flashed from 
their visages and deepened their howl of 
I £5 wild 

572 YATAL rewenge; ou, 

^vikl delight. Aftenvards I remem"bcr 
nothing distinctly. Mine eyes were blind- 
•ed by the glare of steel, mine ears were 
stunned by sounds which I echoed in 
convulsions of fear, around nie were only 
the cries of slaughter and the strife of 
despair, i was thrown aside as one wh© 
ivas neither remembered to injure or to 
spare : the horrors of the struggle I do 
«ot recollect clearly, but he must have 
fallen before so many assailants. When 
tiny faculties returned, I -found myself 
agiain in the cottage; I cast my eyes 
around timidly, and saw one of the 
bloody forms of the forest bending over 
the cm hern of a fire. I closed my eyes, 
and tried to be insensible again. I was 
^lelirious the remainder of the night, and 
only roused to recollection by sounds of 
•such terror as insensibility resisted in 
vain ; they were the voices of tlie mur- 
^lerers which muttered all night around 
my bed j I heard also the steps and voices 



cf Others, whom I feared to look at- 
thr:)ugh the darkness, lest I should scfr 
realised the shapes wliich iiiiaginatlon 
p iircd on me when my eyes v/ere closed* 
* ^ At intervals I saw li^'litniii^'s; of blast- 
rng force and brightness flashing througlv 
the casements- of the hut, ar.d heard 
sounds rofling over the roof, whicli I 
afterwards heard were the thunders of a-, 
vofcanic eruption. In the mornitii^, v/hcrr 
I at length ventured to inquire and to= 
complain, I was checked by words and^ 
looks of prophetic sadness, and the mo- 
man to wliom I was Intrusrcd often be* 
gan to speak to me, but suddenly broke 
off without power to proceed ; whether 
distrusting the levity of childhood, or 
resisting the vielatiou of confidence, I 
know not. A few days after I was con^ 
veyed to a convent, where I was placed - 
to board, and from wliich I was removed^ 
as afterwards from others, with much 
hurry of trepidation and many stratagem? 


IT^ FATAL revenge; or^ 

of concealment. Parent, relation, or in- 
quiring friend I had none ; the life tiiat 
liad begun in calamity proceeded in mys- 
tery. At every place where I resided, I 
Avas indeed told of a friend by whose 
flircctions my life was managed, but 
whom I was never to see : this friend I 
"wat) exhorted to conciliate by silent reve- 
rence and remote submission. I felt lit- 
tle complacency towards an invisible be- 
nefactor, by wiiom I was supported just 
above indio-ence, and hurried about from 
place to place without any communica- 
tions of affection or confidence. 

At length I was some years ago placed 
in this convent, where I was told at my 
entrance I must prepare to take the 
vows, and seclude n)yself from the world 
for e^'er. Solitude and ignorance had left 
me little power of choice, and little 
temptation to resistance. At fu'st, there- 
fore, I heard this with little reluctance; 
but as I grew up, strange visions floated 


before me, of that world which I was to 
resign without having known. Some- 
times I dchghtecl to imagine the world a 
region whose gales breathed felicity, and 
whose soil poured forth roses sponta- 
neously, whose inhabitants melted in 
bowers of balm, or sparkled in palaces 
of amethyst; and sometimes it appeared 
to me as in the dark dreams of that vi- 
sioned night, every hand armed with 
the weapsin of bloody and every visage 
flashing the flames of hell ! Yet even 
over this picture of terrors was shed a 
light of romantic splendour and wild 
adventure, which, modified as it was by 
length of time and weakness of childish 
perceptions, left on my mind an impres- 
sion of curiosity, mingled with awe, in- 
deed, but not remote from desire. Whe- 
ther my meditations on the world were 
just or not, the result was a determina- 
tion not to quit it thus ignorant and in- 
curious. I communicated my resolution 


l?6 TATAL revenge; ou/ 

to iny abbess, who heard me with a burst 
of indigiTatlon, which when I had suffered 
to pass over, I found her arguments not 
equally forcible. I resisted her, there- 
fore, respectfully but tenaciously. When 
she was weary of contending with 
one she could neither convince nor 
punish, she wrote to this person whom 
she represented as the arbiter of my fate, 
and whose interference she looked on as 
irresistible. Her appeal was followed by 
a haughty command to take the veil, 
without opposition, which would only 
prove the impotence of my contumacy, 
and the imbecility of my helplessness. I 
Wets now roused to resistance; for whom 
Vviil not oppression rouse? I demanded 
by whom I was detained and dictated 
tj? I demanded to be restored to my 
natural protectors, and affirmed it was 
impossible there could be a hun^an being 
so destitute of support and protection as 
I was represented to be, The answer was 



short, but decisive : * Your birth is in- 
famous; your parents are (lead; you must 
take the veil or perish.' Four years have 
since been wasted in oppression without 
the right of command^ and of resistance 
without the hope of triumph. I havo 
often resolved to fly, but where can I 
fly, to whom the world is a wilderness? 
I. have sometimes meditated to submit, 
but how shall I. submit, to whom a con- 
vent is worse than a tomb? The sight 
of you has given- a new spring to hope; 
when I think of you other thoughts mix- 
themselves with the joys of liberation- 
the world, since you have said ' IJove/. 
is no longer a dream of imaginary.feli-! 
city; yet, the same sounds would, I 
think, south and sustain me were they 
never to be repeated beyond the echoes 
of a cloister." 

When Ildefonsa had finished her short 
narrative, Annibal, whose thoughts, while 
she spoke were busied in remote events^ 
I 3 drew. 

178 FATAL revenge; or, 

drew from it this conclusion, that she 
was the concealed and persecuted heir of 
honours which were usurped hy mur- 
derers. The rest of the interview passed 
in a retrospect of the fearful events that 
had introduced them to each other. II- 
defonsa, with many others on the first 
alarm, had attempted to reach the town 
hy a hridge, which gave way while hun- 
dreds were on it, and to the ruins of 
which she clung without a hope of safety, 
till rescued by Annibal. They had be- 
come insensible when near the margin 
of the stream, to which they had been 
wafted by its fluctuations before they re- 
covered. On parting, many plans of 
liberation were proposed, of which that 
which Annibal had already adopted ap- 
peared the most judicious, to employ the 
interest of a powerful ecclesiastic in re- 
moving Ildefonsa from monastic re* 
straint, the oppression of which he en- 
couraged her to bear with tenderness that 



lamented what it advised. They were 
now separating, when they were startled 
by a noise ; both trembled and looked 
round; a shadow, so faint that to Ilde- 
fonsa it was scarce visible, passed before 
them. '* What did you see?" said An- 
nibal in a voice of fear. ** I heard sl 
faint sound," said Ildefonsa answering 
vaguely. *' What did you see?'' said 
Annibal impatiently. ** I saw the sha- 
dow of a tree," she replied, terrified by 
his voice. ** I saw the form of a fiend," 
said Annibal gloomily. ** What do you 
say?" said Ildefonsa still more alarmed. 
** That I am destroyed 1" said Annibal, 
and he rushed from her with unconscious 

Filippo was detained four days at Puz- 
zoli by the indisposition of the prior^ to 
whom he at length presented his letters. 
The prior; a man of sti'ong passions and 
extensive power,, proud of patronage, 
and ostentatious of authority, immedi- 

J80 FATAL revenge; or, 

ately espoused Annibal's cause, wrote t^ 
all he could command or importune, sent 
to Annibal a magnificent present, and 
invited him to reside with him at Puzzoli; 
This intelligence was sufficiently inspi* 
riting, and the progress he had conti- 
nued to make in Ildefonsa's affections 
was such as might animate a less san- 
guine imagination. Yet when Filippo 
returned, he found his master plunged 
in a gloom which nothing could explain 
or dispel ; in vain Filippo watched him 
with the mute assiduity of humble affec-* 
tion, in vain he exhausted all the flat- 
teries of his eloquence in painting his 
approaching happiness and distinction, 
the resistless austerity and munificent 
affection of the prior, the disappointment 
of the abbess and her secret employ ery 
and the triumphant liberation- of the Sig- 
nora Ildefonsa, with part of wbjose story 
he had been entrusted. Annibal remained 
silent, or only replied by interjections^ 




which proved his mind was far from tha 
subject on which he spoke. He still re- 
sorted in the evening to the convent, 
but for the evening he also appeared to 
have some other employment. His de- 
spondency increased every moment, and 
Filippo, who at first pretended to be his 
counsellor, had now little business but 
to watch his looks silently in the day^ 
and count his groans sleeplessly all night; 
Ildefonsa perceived the change also, but 
in the precarious and distressful state of 
their passion there were so many reasons 
for melancholy, that, judgingof his feel? 
ings by her own, she ascribed them to 
the same cause, and endeavoured to inr 
spirit him with hopes she scarcely, dared 
to indulge herself. 

It was in one of these melancholy 
hourSj which were half devoted to fear 
and half to love, that Filippo^ who 
watched at the extremity- of. the wall,, 
rushed forward with terror iu his coun^ 
tenance, and motioned to the lovers 


18^ FATAL revenge; OR, 

to separate. Ildefonsa retired through^ 
the garden in haste, and Annibal re- 
treated with Filippo, who hurried along^ 
his master with looks and broken inter- 
jections of fear, till they had reached a. 
considerable distance from the convent. 
** Signor," said FiHppo, " I have seett 
him !" Annibal made no answer. *' Sig- 
Bor," said Filippo stopping, and turning 
the light of his lantern full on Annibal, 
** I have seen him !" Annibal moved; 
onwards silently : they reached the inn, 
Filippo, emboldened by mutual terror, 
entered the room along with him. ** Sig- 
ner," said he, gazing in his inaster's. 
face, and not speaking till he was near 
enough to whisper, *^ Signor, I have 
seen him to-night !" — ** I see him every 
night,'' said Annibal gloomily. Filippo^ 
retreated. '* Yes, Filippo, every night. 
He is not dead, poison cannot kill him ; 
he crosses my path when I move, be 
lurks in my ch^nber when I sit, he per- 


vades all the elements, and whispers 
audibly in my ears even when their senses 
are closed." — ** Signor, what is it you? 
say ?"— '^ I know not what I say ; once* 
I hoped my heart would have burst be- 
fore I could have uttered thus muchj, 
but it is in vain, human resistance is m 
vain. I know him not, through mist 
and vision my mind grasps at him in 
vain ; but I feci that though his charac* 
ter is shadowy, his influence is substan:* 
tial ; I feel that I am — did I say his vic-^ 
tim ? Oh, not yet, not yet !" 

He fell on his knees, and prayed ia- 
agony ; Filippo sunk beside him. *^ Oh, 
Signor ! you break my heart. If the ter- 
rible being I have seen be yet alive, the 
guilt is not yours, nor is it mine; I had: 
hoped, indeed, he had perished ; nor would 
I have felt so much fear from his spectre^. 
as I did from his living presence this 
night. Oh, Signor, he is not a being 
ovir hands could reach 1 we are sinful 



men, Signer; let us confess to smno 
holy man, and beg the aids of thc; 
church; we are sinful men, and our^ 
oflTences visit us in these shapes of terror. 
— I never recollected them so distinctly^ 
as I do this night !" — ** Filippo," said 
his unhappy master, '* I have yielded to 
the weakness of nature once and the first- 
time, no one has seen m.e thus subdued 
before; dismiss your fears, i/ou are in 
no danger ; this business requires other 
agents, leave me to encounter it alone.- 
I believe I am for the dark hour and the 
unutterable task; I believe I am resigned 
by my better angel; a blast has spread^' 
over life, and the organs with which I 
behold objects are seared and discolouredw 
Go from me, I no longer wish to feel 
anything humau near me ; it enfeebles 
me, and my nerves should be of iron 
now. I should be mantled in midnight, 
and armed with serpents — I would I were; 
I would I were muffled in blindness, oy 



hissed into stupor. Filippo, do not heed 
me ; I struggle no longer from convic- 
tion, but from despaii;. Filippo, do not 
heed me. The enemv of souls, it is 
said, has great power over melancholy 
spirits; I have been melancholy from my 
youth, but this is reality, terrible, over- 
whelming reality ; here is fact and con- 
sequence ! Filippo, why do you gaze 
thus ? Do not heed me." 

Filippo, ignorant of the real cause of 
the convulsions of Annibafs niind, and 
ascribing them to the dread that the be- 
ing he had seen was the spectre of the 
poisoned monk, endeavoured to console 
him by tiie hope that he had escaped the 
eftects of the poison, and was yet alive 
and uninjured. *' I know, I know he 
Is alive !" said Annibal distractedly. 
■(' There is then nothing to fear or to be 
reproached with, Signor ; I will get ab- 
solution for giving him the drink, and 
we will go. to the holy prior happily."—^ 

'* An4 

1S6 FATAL revenge; or, 

** And who shall give me absolution ?" 
said Annibal. *' For what, Sig-nor?'' 
asked Filippo, confounded by the ques- 
tion. " Villain!" said Annibal, starting 
into frenzy, *' do not name it, do not 
utter it even mentally; would you tempt 
77ie to speak it ? would you feast your ears 
with my ruin ? You are one of his emissa- 
ries, bribed to haunt me in his absence, 
and shut up every breathing hole of re- 
mission, every glimpse of quiet." 

Filippo, astonished anu dismayed, for- 
bore to speak, and Annibal soon alter per- 
ceiving him about to quit the room, desir- 
ed him to sleep at the foot of his bed that 
night. Filippo obeyed, and Annibal, throw- 
ing himself on the bed, closed his eyes. Fi- 
lippo rose, and bending over him, watch- 
ed if he slept. His master, starting with 
the quickness of habitual fear, demanded 
why he had risen ? ** Be not displeased, 
Signor, these are relics of power and 
sanctity, every one of these crosses has 



touched the shrine of Loretto ; I was 
going wliile you slept to lay them under 
your pillow, so that no evil thing might 
hurt you." Annihal silently suffered him, 
and again tried to rest, but Filippo agaiu 
rose, and began to tie something about 
the pillars of the bed. '* And these, 
Signor, I have but thought of this mo- 
ment, they have power against all wizards 

fiiivi uriMOiy iiiiiJgs LiitiL ^Vrtin. li.C C^lltl 

in the shape of men, but are not ; this 
is a shred of tlie cloth in which the head 
of St. Januarius was \vrapt when it was 
first discovered : while this is on your 
bed you are safe from spell and wizardry." 
— ^' It is indeed a relic of virtue if lam," 
said Annibal heavily; ** but where did 
you procure them, Filippo r" — " My 
uncle Michelo gave them to me on his 
dying bed, he had purchased them fron:i 
aDominican." — ''Take them away quick, 
the haunting of that name will not depart 
from me all night ; let not Michelo touch 


i88 FATAL revkkge; ok, 

nic, it brings back a thousand images ; 
dark and disastrous thoughts are with 
nic when he is named. Lie down aga n, 
Filippo, and speak not till the morning." 
Fihppo obeyed, but twice starred up in 
the niglit, from an apprehension there 
were others in the room: so loud were 
Annibal's exclamations and struggles ii> 
Lis sleep* 

To tlifse nights the occupatiot^s of the 
day sometimes afforded relief. The pre* 
sence of Ildefonsa soothed both his me- 
lancholy aiul his passion ; the variety,, 
too, and spirit of adventure which the 
circumstances of their interview were 
diversified by, occupied his mind and 
his imagination. Sometimes the signal 
of tlicir meeting was the low tones of 
Ildetonsa-'s maudoline breathing from 
among the moon-lit foliage ; sometimes 
that of disappointnient was a cluster of 
withered flowers dropt from the grating 
o.f her. cell ;, once he heard, her utter 



sounds of a tone different from tliose of 
common tenderness, and paused before 
he approached her to interrupt it. The 
lines were these: 


We meet no more-— oh, think on me ! 

Though lost to sense for ever, 
Yet faithful Memory's record dear 

Whispers — we shall not sever. 

No, by that lip of richest sweets, 

Oh, never press'd by me I 
No, by that soft eye's humid fires 

I must remember thee ! 


Each passing object's casual light 

Shall oft revive its power ; 
Even you, pale beams, shall wake the thought 

They lit our parting hour. 


And then I'll think I see that form. 

In ardent beauty glowing ; 
And at the thought a tear shall wake, 

Aa fond as now 'tis flawing. 


190 FATAL revenge; OR, 

Anuibal advanced from his conceal- 
ment ; Ildefonsa discovered Iiim, and 
said in faultering accents, *' Those lines 
were suggested to me when I had seen 
you once, and expected to see you no 
more." — '' And was it possible," said 
Annibal, '* you could think such a pas- 
sion could exhaust itself in one night's 
rapture and conflict?" — '* Were it not 
better that it should than to have lingered 
through a few nights more only to ex- 
pire?" — ^'What do you sa}^, Ildefonsa?" 
— ^' That where there is no confidence 
there can be no passion. Annibal, An- 
nibal, are these like the sweet hours of 
early love? is this the mixture of soul 
and feeling you have talked of? Your 
eye is wild, Annibal, and your cheek is 
pale; you will not tell me the cause, 
yet you say you love me." — *' If you 
love me," said Annibal vehemently, 
** mention this no more. Can the com- 
inunication of misery and guilt endear 



affection or increase happiness?" — ^' Of 
guilt, Anniball" — *' Yes; is there not 
mental guilt ? may not a man be a mur- 
derer, a parricide in thought? do you 
think that the hardened wretch whose 
hands reek every night with blood, un- 
repented and un remembered, suffers like 
him over whose soul the image of anti- 
cipated guilt sits for ever, the absence 
of commission more than balanced by 
tlie horrors of feeling and remorse ? Oh, 
Ildefonsa ! the ans^uish of a rnind unwil- 
lingly depraved, to which evil is aggra- 
vated by the bitterness of compulsion 
and the revoltings of innate integrity, 
such a state was to be imagbied in the 
list of human sufferings till it was inflicted 
on me." — '* What do you mean ?- Blessed 
Mother ! what do you mean by those 
words ? — '' Nothing, I know not myself; 
let us talk of your liberation. How did 
we wander to this subject?" — '* It was 
my fault, aiid I should have forborne it, 



for I perceive it always laps you in way- 
wardness a«d musing ; it was my fault ; 
])ut my mind was strangely touched to- 
night. I again saw that ominous stranger, 
whom when I see I believe in my fear 
every thing I have heard of one that 
watches over my life for evil "• — '* Who? 
"what stranger is this? why did you not tell 
nie of him before ? what manner of man 
is he?" — ** You startle me, Anwibal, by 
your vehemence. lie is a monlv; I have 
•bscTved him some days past in consul- 
tation with the abbess ; I know not of 
what convent he is, or what brings him 
to ours, but I feel a wild awe as he 
passes and looks on me." — ^* His name, 
liave you heard his name?" — ** I think 
I heard the abbess call him Father Sche- 
moli ; but I will watch him more closely, 
and learn — " **No, no, no, approach 
3iim not, touch him not, it is unlawful 
to hold converse with him. Ildefonsa, 
my innocent love, beware of intercourse 



with that being ; it is not good to hoUl 
it; once I joined my hand to liis, and 
his grasp has never been relaxed since." 

Ildefonsa now terrified to tears, ter- 
rified Annibal by her distress. He at- 
tempted to sooth her, but every effort 
to diversify their melancholy conference 
was rendered ineffectual by involuntary 
recurrence or gloomy abstraction. *' There 
is a spell over one too," said Annibal, 
with a 'painful smile, ^'mif mind has 
has also been strangely touched. I as- 
cribe it," said he, forcing himself to 
proceed, *' to a prediction I recollect 
relating to myself, which sheds a gloom 
over me I cannot dispel." — '^ What is 
the purport of it ?" said Ildefonsa. 
'^ That I am to be flattered with a pros- 
pect of the completion of my wishe.-, 
never to be verified ; that the object I love 
is to be torn from me at the moment 
of possession ; and that life is to change 
its complexion at the period when its 

VOL. Ill, K aspect 

194 FATAL revenge; or, 

aspect becomes brilliant with joy and 
hope." — *' The prediction is so general, 
it must have been uttered in infancy," 
said Ildefonsa. *' Possibly long before 
it," said Annibal, heavily. *' Has it 
been so long in circulation ?" replied Il- 
defonsa, endeavouring to evade the ap- 
plication. *' I only heard it last night,' 
said Annibal with emphasis. *' It is a 
melancholy one/' said Ildefonsa, yield- 
ing to the complexion of tb.e hour and 
the conference. " There is an alter- 
native," said Annibal. " I Avould em- 
brace any alternative preferably," said 
Ildefonsa, heedlessly. ** Would you, — 
would you indeed ?" said Annibal, with 
sudden eagerness. *' 1 would, assuredly," 
she replied, '^unless — " ** Unless what?" 
*' Unless it involved a crime — or — " 
*' Aye, aye, I know all you would say," 
said Annibal. ** Would the degree of 
the crime make any difference ?" said 
he, after a pause, then again interrupted 



her with '' But that is of no conse« 
quence to me." From a conference 
thus wildly broken, neither could derive 
much pleasure ; they separated, uncheer- 
ed by a promise of speedy return, for 
Ildefonsa informed her lover, that at- 
tendance on a peculiar ceremony would 
detain her for three following nights. 

This interval Filippo observed his mas- 
ter to pass in unmitigated wretchedness, 
and overheard him in solitude and in 
sleep, perpetually repeating to himself 
the ominous sentence which he had com- 
municated to Ildefonsa. On the morn- 
ing of the fourth day, letters arrived 
from PuzzoU of the most momentous 
import. They contained an order from 
the Bishop of the diocese for the re- 
moval of sister Ildefonsa Mauzoli, of the 
Ursuline convent, to another in Puz2;oli. 
This the prior informed Annibal in ano- 
ther letter, was only a preparatory step 
to her being declared free to adopt or 
k£ reject 


reject a monastic life. The letter coii- 
cliided by pressing Annibal's removal 
to Piizzoli, where the event of his love 
and fortune seemed to demand his pre- 
sence. The order was brought to the 
convent by a messenger of the prioi*s, 
who was also an ecclesiastical officer, 
and presented by him to the abbess ; 
rilippo accompanied him by the order 
of Annibal. The delivery of the order 
was attended with some formality, and 
witnessed by a number of attendants. 

Hour after hour, Annibal counted the 
delay of the messenger with impatience, 
which was at length discoloured by fear. 
Unable to communicate the cause of his 
agitation, and agitated by other causes, 
he wandered on the margin of the river, 
aiow dark and wild with- winter, and tried 
in vain to expel from his thought the 
dolorous sounds, which his ""lips were in- 
cessantly forming, while he struggled 
to forget them. Late in the evening 



Filippo returned breathless, with strange 
intelligence, which at first he could only- 
vent in exclamation ; compassion for his 
master's solicitude, at length made him 
coherent, and he related the events of 
the day, but his peculiar manner^ and 
numerous interruptions may bo spared ia 
the narration. 

He had pressed with many other at- 
tendants, into the apartment where the 
messenger of the prior Mas introduced 
to the abbess. She received the paper 
with submission, but on receiving it^ 
crossed herself with marks of "-rief and 
dismay, and then addressing herself to 
the messenger, said, **This order comes 
too late, except to renew our grief for 
the loss of a departed sister ; lldefonsa 
]\Iauzoli is now beyond the reach of 
eartldy power, she expired yesterday." 

The messenger, with strong expres- 
sions of concern, and some of distrust, 
quitted the apartment, where the cla- 


morons distress of the nuns, whicli seen^- 
ed to wait a signal for its renewal, con- 
tended in vain with tlie loud murmura 
in which the attendants testified their 
suspicion and resentment. But Filippo, 
Miiose first impulse of concern was su- 
perseded by his penetration, determined 
not to quit the convent thus incuriously. 
He dreaded his master's despair ; he 
mistrtt^ted the malignity of the Abbess; 
and while the attendants were dispers- 
ing, he glided through the passages of 
tlie convent, and repaired to the chapel, 
^vhere he dispensed his prostrations with 
8uch unction, and examined the rehcs 
"with so profound a visage, that he at- 
tracted tlie notice of an old, deaf, 
crippled nun, who usually loitered in 
the chapel to tax the faith or charity of 
devout visitors. Bv this sybil he was 
led about from one saint's nail to ano- 
ther's eye-brow ; he was shewn the dust 
that dropt from the crayons of St. Luke, 



and a tile whicli fell from the Holy 
House of Loretto, in its aerial journey 
from Palestine to Italy. In the course 
of his enquiries he satisfied himself that 
s/ic was almost completely deaf, and 
nearly blind ; he now therefore recon- 
noitred the chapel with some degree of 
confidence. Through one of the upper 
arcades, he observed the nuns passing 
with such frequency, that he imme- 
diately conjectured it opened to the 
gallery where their cells were ranged. 
To confirm his conjectures, by the gra- 
tuity of a few zechins, he prevailed on 
the nun to repeat a certain number of 
prayers for him, at a shrine which owed 
the distinction more to the distance 
from the place of his devotion, than 
to his belief of its uncommon sanctity. 
When he liad made this arrangement, 
(in the prosecution of which he very 
soon had the safisfaction of seeing the 
aged nun fast asleep) he cautiously ap- 

200 FATAL revexge; ok, 

proached the part of the chapel iindei' 
the arcade; he knew not in what man- 
ner to convey his presence or his pur- 
poses. A small portable stringed in- 
strument, which he had purchased on 
the way from one of the attendants, in 
hopes of soothing his master's gloomy 
solitude, presented itself as a lucky me- 
dium of unsuspected communication. 
He touched it, but the old nun, awoke 
by so unusual a sound, tottered forward 
to demand the reason of it, at the same 
time assuring Filippo that he had been 
so unfortunate as to disturb a vision iu 
wliich St. Ursula was just about to pro- 
mise her any favour she could ask for 
the young visitor, on condition he ap- 
plied for the situation of gardener to the 
convent, '' For our gardener," said the 
imn, '' has groxvnso old — " '' Venerable 
mother," said Fili])po, ** return to the 
shrine, doubtless you will be favoured 
with a continuance of the vision. I 



myself received an uncommon accession 
just at the moment, which, with the 
help of your prayers, may improve into 
an actual call to become gardener to St. 
Ursula. With regard to this instrument, 
venerable mother, I was once, when wan- 
dering over the Andes (wliich are a ridge 
of high mountains dividing Germany 
from the Island of Africa,) chased by 
a band of bloody, unbelieving Moors^ 
I had no instrument of defence but thisy 
on which I was inspired to play a hymn 
to St. Ursula, the effect of which was so 
sacred, that the whole troop was con- 
verted, and remain good Catholics to 
this day. I made a vow on the spot, 
that on this very instrument I would 
play the same hymn at the shrine of 
St. Ursula, as soon as I arrived in Italy ; 
I beg, therefore, reverend mother, yoit 
w ill do me no disquiet in the performance 
of my vow." ** Heaven forbid!" re- 
plied the religious, **I never heard a 
K 3 more 


more glorious recital, it is exactly like 
the legends which the confessor reads to 
us on the vigils of the saints." 

She then returned to the shrine, where 
she was soon v/rapt into another vision on 
the call of the young gardener. But 
however the deaf nun might be dismissed 
without much cost of dexterity, he knew 
not how to lull the vigilant sisters. It 
was a lucky hour, that allotted to private 
devotion, which most of them were re- 
signing to sleep. He recollected an air 
he had heard Annibal sing in suppressed 
tones near the garden, while he waited 
for Ildefonsa ; it was plaintive, apd 
might well pass for a pilgrim's song. He 
touched a slight prelude on his instru- 
ment, and then sung the fullpwing 
words, mezza voce : — 

If she who weeps a lover's woes, 

Yet linger near these conscious walls, 

Of absent love the song she knows. 
She hears it$ fbnd, though timid calls. 



He paused — all was still. He repeated 
it in a voice trennilous with disappoint- 
ment, and a light vi])ration, (low and 
brief as a sigh.) of Ihlefonsa's well- 
known mandoline, came to his ear, fill- 
ing him M'ith confidence and joy. His 
recognition of this sio-nal was without 
doubt 01 fear, for he had heard his mas- 
ter say, that Ildefonsa was the only 
inmate within the walls that ton died the 
mandoline. He rose joyfully, and was 
quitting tlie chapel without disturbing 
the old nun, to learn the success of her 
second conference with St. Ursula, when 
a sound near him arrested his steps. 
He knew not to Avhat direction to refer 
it ; it seemed that of a human voice, 
yet it issued from under his feet 1 He 
listened — '* There was no sound," said a 
voice from beneath the shrine, ''it was 
fancy; the chapel is empty." — ^' Then 
let us ascend," said a female voice, ^' for 
I aai suffocated with these damps. Is 



your apprehension of discovery suilici- 
ently removed ?"—'' Perfectly ;" an- 
swered the first, which Filippo disco- 
vered to be that of Father Schemoll. 
** Discovery c^;z?z6>^ penetrate where you 
have led me. To-morrow night, then, 
reverend mother, this serpent shall be 
crushed in the dark ! May I rely on your 
assistant?" — *' As firmly as on your own 
resolution, father." — ^' That has never 
failed :" said Schemoli, emphatically. 

The time which they took to as- 
cend, and enter the chapel by a con- 
cealed grating, in the pavement of the 
shrine, gave Filippo an opportunity to 
screen himself behind the profuse vo- 
lumes of drapery that enfolded it; but 
when he saw the confessor and abbess of 
the convent, for that was the female, 
ascend from the shrine, and pass the 
spot where he stood, he ceased to hope 
for life. They passed him, however, 
and drawing near the door, observed the 

nun : 


nun ; the abbess awoke her ; '* Why are 
you sleeping^" said the abbess. '' I 
was not sleeping," replied the nun. 
'* Strangers might have entered the cha- 
pel," said the confessor. ^' That is im- 
possible, while I am here," observed the 
nun. '* Are you sure no one has been 
here since,'' asked the abbess. *' There 
was one young pilgrim," said the nun, 
exalting her voice, ** who went through 
the pannelled door, behind the drapery 
at the left pediment of the shrine of St. 
Ursula." Filippo took the hint as dex- 
terously as it was given, and gliding 
throuo-h the door which lie had not till 
then observed, retreated silently through 
a remote passage. '^ You were very 
particular in observing the manner of his 
exit," said Schemoh. '' To tell you the 
truth, I let him out myself," answered 
the nun. '* She is foolish," said the 
abbess, retiring with Schemoli, ** but 
strict and faithful." 


2GG FATAL revenge; or, 

In the mean time Filippo basted to 
his master; he informed him of the 
supposed machinations of the abbess ; 
he did not conceal from him tbe 
presence and agency of Schemoli, he 
averred it bis bebef that the Signora 
Ildefonsa did exist, though he feared it 
was determined she sbould not exist 
much longer. All personal interference 
was now fruitless, as he would probably 
be excliuled from the walls of the con- ^ 
vent, but as the following night was 
assigned for the celebration of her fune- 
ral, at which strangers would of course 
be present,, he advised Annibal to repair 
thither with the officer who had brought 
the Bishop's order, to state the circum- 
stances which had occurred, and of 
which he (Filippo) would avow himself 
a witness, cover the abbess with confu- 
sion, and interest the spectators and the 
ecclesiastics in the restitution of Ilde- 
fonsa. Every thing indeed, that cou- 
xage or ingenuity could propose, was 
1 ant I- 


anticipated in the advice' of Filippo, 
\vhich Annibal prepared to adopt, with 
a heart he was delio'hted to feel bcatinsr 
w^ith human passions once more. 

The funeral of a sister of the Ursuline 
convent was always attended with pe- 
culiar solemnity, from the abbess's wish 
to impress strangers who were permitted 
to attend it, with an opinion of the 
sanctity of her retreat, as well as to 
spread over the minds of the inmates 
a deeper shade of religious awe and sub- 
mission. The office was to be performed 
in the chapel at midnight : two hours 
before which every avenue was filled by 
strangers, among whom Annibal and 
his attendants found no difficulty in 
mingling. His spirits were solemnly 
touched ; the idea of Ildefonsa asso- 
ciated with the persuasion and imagery 
of death, (though from death he be- 
lieved her sufficiently distant,) the 
gliding steps, the dim light, and the 


208 FATAL revenge; or, 

low requiem, repelled the tumult of 
expectation, and stilled and saddened 
him. While the crowd were examining 
the devices with which the passages of 
the chapel were arrayed, Annibal, from 
an upper arcade, beheld a group of nuns 
assembled round the bier, which stood 
in the centre of the chapel. The tapers 
were not yet lit, but a tojch burned 
dimly at the foot of the bier, shewing 
the pale, evanid forms of the sisters, who 
from time to time breathed the low, 
lulling tones which compose the office 
for the dead, and which were soon to 
mingle with the chantings of the choir 
and the rich thunders of the organ. 
Annibal, visionary by nature, and melan- 
choly from habit, listened, entranced 
in sadness, and almost wished himself 
lapped in the deep rest which was sooth- 
ed by the breathings of such holy har- 
mony. Of Ildefonsa, even if he possessed 
her, he dreaded his possession would not 



be long, and though armed for her li- 
beration, he already wept her as dead. 

Meanwhile midnight approached, an 
ecclesiastic of rank attended to perform 
tlie service. The abbess and the nuns 
wiere ranged in their galleried stalls, the 
crowd belou', pale with religious awe, 
filled the aisle and chancel. The service 
of the dead was chanted ; the roar of 
the organ ceased, the prior, rising, ad« 
vanced to the bier, and spreading his 
arms, breathed a benediction over the 
pall that covered it. The attendants rai- 
sing it, bore it towards the narrow door 
of a subterranean cemetery, preceded by 
tlie sacristan, whose torch flared over 
the dark and arched entrance. On a 
signal, the nuns M^ere about to renew 
the reqiiiem, whose last echo was now 
dying on the ear, when Annibal, who 
had wrought himself to an energic burst 
of rage and enthusiasm, called aloud 
to them to forbear, and appealing alter- 

^W FATAL revenge; OR, 

nately to the prior and the spectators, 
(lemanckd justice on the abbess, for de- 
ceivins: them by a fictitious interment of 
a nun, whom, if ahve, she had immured 
in the recesses of a dungeon. This bold 
outcry was followed by terror and con- 
fusion. The attendants paused in dis- 
may ; the nuns ran shrieking to their 
cells, the prior advanced in amaze, and 
the crowd, variously divided, awaited 
the event of this extraordinary appeal. 

Annibal now briefly, but vividly, re- 
lated the late events, which were cor- 
roborated by Filippo. He urged the prior 
by his awe of episcopal authority, and 
he interested the spectators by a detail 
of the helplessness, the persecutions, and 
the beauty of Iklefonsa. By this time 
the abbess had descended, and appealed 
loudly in her turn, against the insult 
offered to her character and her sanc- 
tuary, by a wandering fugitive, of whom 
nothing more was. known than, than that 



he was an enemy to tlie Catholic Faith, a 
seducer of vestal purity, and a calum- 
niator of vestal sanctity. Annibal, who 
perceived the auditory fluctuating, has- 
tened to bring the contest to a speedy 
and obvious test, and throwing himself 
at the feet of the prior, besought him to 
command the pall to be removed, and 
the bier to be examined. ** If," added 
he, ** Ildefonsa be Hving, she is not on 
that bier, if she be dead, the appearance 
of the corse will justify my charge, and 
blast her murderers with conviction." 

To this proposal the prior, moved by 
strong personal curiosity, consented, nor 
did the abbess seem to decline it. They 
moved with difficulty through the chan- 
ctl, now obstructed by the crowd, tu- 
multuous with curiositv. The attendants 

J, .... 

invested the bier, the prior himself held 
a taper as he bowed over it, the pall was 
removed; with a spring of agony Anni- 


212 F^TAL revenge; or, 

bal tlirew himself on the object it dis- 
closed, ontheco?'^e of llckfonsa. 

He started up, revived by frantic hope, 
he examined the hand on which his 
burning tears were dropping ; it was no 
waxen effigy, it was cold and relaxed, 
but it was human flesh. He looked with 
straining eyes on the face, there was no 
sign of violence ; he knew them well, 
there was neither streak nor stain, nei- 
ther discolouration nor contraction, she 
was calm and lovely, as in sleep. He 
was stirred from his trance, by a sound 
which he heard, without comprehending 
it, it was the loud rage of the abbess and 
the spectators, who, on this visible proof 
of the falsity of his charge, would wil- 
lingly have torn Annibal to pieces, with- 
out patience for his explanations, or a 
sympathy for his misery. But his mind, 
embittered by persecution, and goaded 
by a conviction of crime or imposture 
in the present events furnished him with 



such siidderi eloquence of vindication, 
such a How of passion, ,( which described 
himself as bereft, by monkish fraud and 
cruelty, of the only hope that soothed 
his existence, and heaped together such 
fearful stories of monastic oppression 
and religious murder) that the lower 
orders of the auditory, always favour- 
able to the depression of dignity, again 
adopted his cause, and demanded loudly 
an inquisition into the affair. The 
abbess, enraged, addressed the crowd, 
and warned them how they upheld a 
wizard, a sorcerer, one that was. leagued 
with unholy spirits against the cause of 
the church and its votarists ; she told 
them, the str^fnger was a Montorio, one 
of the dark race, whose deeds of horror 
extended beyond the limits of earth, and 
the catalogue of human crimes. 

From this accusation, Annibal, un- 
used to the persecutions of Ippolito, was 
defending himself with the vehemence of 



genuine horror, and looking round the 
multitude, demaJiided who dare approve 
the charges on himself or his house, 
M'hen his eye, as it swept the circle with 
a look of command, rested on the dark 
face of Schemoli, standing directly op- 
posite him, and regarding him with a 
look of fixed sternness. Annibal was 
transfixed to the spot ; his eye became 
hollow, and his lip quivered. He bent 
forward with a broken sound of fear, 
and retreated witliout a power of col- 
lecting thought, or uttering a word. 
The abbess screamed with triumph. 
*' See," said she, ** the wretch, arrested 
in the very moment of his false defence, 
by tlie power of conscience ! See, does 
he utter a word ? Look on his haggard 
face — his eye is bent on air — but doubt- 
less he sees forms from wdiich tlie eyes 
of the faithful are veiled." 

Annibal springing through the crowd 
with a vehement impulse, called him by 



name to stay, then retreating, with his eyes 
still fixed in the direction where he had 
glided away, said inwardly, *' See where 
he flits along; he is no creature of this 
earth!" — '^ Whom do you speak to?'* 
said some around him, in fear, or in 
curiosity. *' Ask me not," said Aa- 
nibal wildly, " I dare not tell ; his foim 
is human, but be not deceived, he is 
not one of us." The few who pressed 
around him, were driven back by these 
wild wo-rds, and the zealous and terrified 
<:rowd now as loudly pressing for his ar- 
rest and detention, as they had a mo- 
ment past to hear and to favour him. 
The prior advanced, and informed him 
is conduct and expressions had been so 
extraordinary, that he conceived it his 
duty as a churchman, to take cogni- 
sance of them. He then commanded 
his attendants to secure and guard him. 
On the unhappy prisoner, neither his ad- 
dress, nor the consequent movements 


^[6 FATAL revknge; gk, 

appeared to make any impression ; he 
was in the cahnness of fixed madness. 
From time to time he uttered the words, 
*' See where he ghdes away," to thd 
great terror of his guard, whom he how- 
ever made no attempt to resist. 

Terror, disastrous passion, and dis- 
appointed revenge, had indeed impaired 
his reason, but his madness ^vas without 
violence, for his" strength v/as exhausted. 
The remaining rites of sepulture were 
hastily concluded ; the crowd, still mur- 
muring with W'onder and doubt, dis- 
persed, and the prior recollecting, that 
in the ruined town, tliere was now no 
place to secure the prisoner, consulted 
with the abbess, who agreed that he 
should remain secured in some outer 
apartment of the convent, and watched 
by the attendants. There was little need 
of security ; Annibal remained calm and 
passive, but from time to time, uttered 
words, which, had his hearers been ac- 


quainted with the late events of his Hfe, 
would have suggested ideas more ter- 
rible than the outrage of a convent; 
but terrified by the rambiings of de- 
lirium, which some interpreted as pos- 
session, and some as prophecy, his 
guards, one by one retired, each al- 
ledging the departure of the last as a 
reason for his own, and each dreading 
as he saw a companion retire, that he 
would be left alone with the maniac. 
It was solitude, silence, and chillness 
that recalled Annibal to his reason. He 
was in a deserted room that had once 
been the sacristy ; the pale, faint light 
of the moon almost setting, fell through 
mist and haze, on a narrow window. 
Annibal for a moment recollected the 
events of the night, and then, in the 
confusion of returning sense, endeavour- 
ed to exclude them by shutting his eyes ; 
for the late privation of reason had been, 
accompanied with imperfect vision, and 
VOL. III. L he 

218 FATAL revenge; OR, 

he wished to retire for shelter to in- 
sensibility again. It was impossible; 
every thing recurred with a force more 
vivid than reality, and again he started 
up to prevent the attendants from car- 
rying the bier of Ildefonsa to the vault. 
He found himself in a lone and narrow 
apartment, the door of which was se- 
cured, but from without he thought 
he heard whispers as of men in con- 
sultation. He now implored release or 
information respecting the fate of Il- 
defonsa, by every topic that he thought 
could operate on compassion or fear, and 
in every tone of passion, from the whis- 
perings of supplication, to the hoarse, 
broken, inarticulate roar of rage and 

He procured neither freedom nor an- 
swer, and at length feeling his brain 
again unsettle, and dreading the loss 
of reason as the extinction of his sole 
means of hope, he retreated to a seat, 



and hiding his head in the folds of his 
mantle, and pressing his temples firmly 
with his hands, he tried to exclude the 
forms that were every moment enlarging 
in size, and quickening in motion before 
him, and to breathe a broken prayer for 
the preservation of his reason. He giew 
calmer, but when he ventured to look 
up, he again mistrusted the faithful- 
ness of his senses. Every object around 
him seemed in motion ; and the blue 
and shadowy light quivered so fit- 
fully and wild, that a kind of fan- 
tastic animation seemed to pervade the 
very walls and cieling. Again he closed 
l)is eyes, but the motion was palpable, 
for though he could no longer see any 
object, he felt the seat shaking under 
him. Before he could rise, he heard the 
bells of the convent pealing out with 
that confused and dolorous sound, that 
the wretclied inmates of countries visit- 
ed by earthquakes understand but too 
L Q well. 

220 FATAL revenge; or, 

well. The thought of perishing without 
a struggle was horrible. Again he rush- 
ed to the door, and implored to be at 
least allowed a chance for life, which in 
that hour of horrors is not even denied 
to the most abandoned convict in his 
dungeon. He implored in vain, his cries, 
even to his ozvn ears, were drowned in 
the increasing tumult and distraction of 
the convent. He heard, indeed, many 
voices, but none that answered him ; 
he heard steps passing close to his door, 
and some even that faultered as they 
passed, but they faultered from the terror 
of their own flight, and though they 
echoed his cries with involuntary im- 
pulse, they yet seemed not to hear them. 
At length a crash was heard, which 
seemed like the toppling of the whole 
structure, and the next moment a mass 
cf ruinous building falling against the 
door of Annibal's prison it was shattered 
to atoms ; and through the chasm he 



beheld the walls of the convent shakino% 
figures, in the infatuation of fear, cling- 
ing to the rent and heaving fragments, 
and a copper- tinged and flaky sky, peer- 
ing through the crushed roof, whose 
crags and ridges, tinted with the glare, 
seamed the mass with portentous shapes^ 
that seemed to the fugitives below, like 
dragons perched on their spires, or hip- 
pogriffis breathing sulphur through their 
shrines. Annibal started from his prison, 
and the next moment saw its walls rollins: 
together like a scroll, and its place lost 
in a cloud of dust, and sparks, and sul- 
phurous smoke. Half blind, half stifled, 
he struggled on, and perceived that the 
fall of the principal tower, which had 
shaken the walls of his prison to dust, 
had also forced its way through the pave- 
ment of the cloistered passage on which 
it descended, and which now only pre- 
sented a number of chasms, whose dark- 
ness or depth the eye could not measure, 
6 and 

222 FATAL revengk; or, 

and whose crumbling edges were but just 
visible in the light of the funeral lamps 
which had burned in the cloister that 
nightj some of them yet unextinguished 
in the fall gleamed to some depth in the 
chasms, shewing their rude, dark pro- 
minences, and playing ineifectually on 
the thick darkness in which their depths 
were lost, lie noted all this with per- 
ceptions quickened by fear, but the im- 
pulse to advance was irresistible to one 
so lately in durance. He advanced, there- 
fore ; he was on the edge of a cavity ; on 
the opposite side was a door, through 
which a steady light appeared, as if that 
part of the building was not yet in ruins. 
He attempted to spring across it, but 
either his senses were false or his strength 
impaired, for he plunged into darkness 
and emptiness, and his breath and recol- 
lection failed him in a moment. He 
recovered, but after what interval he had 
ao means of knowing; he felt himself 



sore and stunned, but not incapable of 
motion. Pie rose and attempted to dis- 
cover into what place he had descended. 
The floor was damp and stony ; it was 
evidently the floor of a vault, but the 
utmost extent of his arms could not dis- 
cover the walls, nor encounter any inter- 
vening object. He groped on in cautious 
and breathless fear, till the dread that 
he was only treading the same dark cir- 
cle, the dread that he was plunged into 
an abyss, over which was heaped a moun- 
tain of ruin no hand could ever remove ; 
the dread that he must wander in daik- 
ness, uttering cries that must never be 
heard, and imploring aid that never could 
reach him, till he must suck the dank 
and flinty ground in the madness of 
thirst, or gnaw his withering flesh for 
food; — the dread of this rose like a burn- 
ing tide of agony in his throat ; and 
sending forth a cry that might make it- 
self be heard, even amid the uproar of 


2£4 FATAL revenge; or, 

that night, he sunk on the ground. He 
sprung up again, for his cry was plainly 
repeated by other sounds than the echoes 
of the vault ; again it was repeated, and 
Annibal, to whom even the imaginary 
tenant of darkness would scarce have 
been an unwelcome visitant, called aloud 
and repeatedl}^ and springing on one 
foot, listened with every faculty on the 
stretch. Again he heard a voice so dis- 
tinct, so well known, so unhoped for,, 
that, bewildered and laughing with con- 
vulsive joy, he said to himself, *' It is 
impossible, it is illusion, it is a sleight 
of the enemy ! Oh ! when will the cool, 
clear light of the morn coirie, and all 
this vanish ?" He was answered in tones 
he could no longer misunderstand, '^ It 
is, it is I ; stir not, move not a step, I 
must approach in darkness ; but stir not 
limb, or joint, or thought, till you feel 
my hand in yours." Again believing his 
senses failing, he closed his eyes : it was 



fortunate he did SO. The next moment 
he felt the soft hand of Ildefonsa lightly 
touching his. With a sensation inex* 
pressibly delicious, he suffered himself 
to be led a few steps by her in darkness. 
He dared not yet trust himself with sight; 
he felt as if there was a treasure near 
him, which to discover too soon was to 
destroy ; he dreaded that to open his eyes 
would be to banish the delicious dream 
of her voice. At length a strong light 
fell on them ; he looked around ; Ilde- 
fonsa was beside him, and a torch burned 
at the foot of a cluster of pillars, against 
which she leant apparently exhausted with 

For a long time their questions were 
asked and answered by looks, by lips that 
moved but could not articulate, by eyes 
from which they smote away the tears 
that obscured the sight of each other for 
a moment. ''Oh, Annibal !" said Ilde- 
fonsa, speaking fh'st though feebly, " my 
l3 preserver^ 

££6 FATAL revenge; or, 

preserver, I have preserved you in turn I 
When I discovered you, you were sus- 
pended on one foot over a vault, of which 
the depth is — Oh, Santa Madre ! it opens 
beneath my feet wh^n I think of it; 
another step and you had been dashed 
into atoms, into ten thousand atoms \ 
Had I called vou would have moved, 
had I approached you would have moved, 
had I displayed the torch, in the giddi- 
ness of sudden sight you would have , 
moved, and a motion was death. I con- 
cealed the light ; I called to you not to 
move; I crept over to you, dreading the 
sound of my own foot ; I saved you, and 
now save me, for I can stand no longer." 
She tottered, and the wound (which 
Ippolito had bathed in the stream and 
bound up) bled afresh from the vio- 
lence of her emotions. Annibal, grasp- 
ing her in his arms, looked round with 
anguish and distraction. In a vault of 
vast extent, dimly lit by the lamps of a 



distant shrine, and strewed with the re- 
lics and emblems of the dead, he looked 
around in vain for relief or for hope. 
Ildefonsa's eyes wandered, and her lips 
were pale, but she was yet capable of 
conveying her meaning by gestures, and 
now pointing vehemently to the left, 
Annibal bore her thither, still carrying 
the torch, and still looking around with- 
out a glimpse of deliverance. 

The direction to which she pointed ap- 
peared only more dark and rugged than 
that they quitted ; but as he advanced (the 
torch burning dimly from the damps of the 
vault) a faint blue light seemed to hover 
in the distance. He stopped and gazed ; 
Ildefonsa murmured an audible sound of 
encouragement. The light became more 
distinct, it issued through an aperture 
in the roof of the vault, which here was 
so low, that Annibal was compelled to 
bend as he approached it. A fragment of 
somethmg resembling a piece of drapery 


S28 FATAL revenge; OR, 

floated through it, and a voice which at 
first breathed a few faint timid calls from 
above, now bursting out in a torrent of 
lauds, blessings, encouragements, and 
entreaties, accompanied by a figure eager- 
ly bending from the cavity, discovered 
Pilippo. It was no time for inquiries, 
though the situation suggested a thou- 
sand* Filippo, with equal strength and 
dexterity, fastening his mantle, which^ 
lie tore into stripes, to the edge of the 
cavity, drew up lldefonsa with Annibal's 
assistance, who was himself aided by its 
projections to ascend after her, and be- 
held, with mind and senses revived, the 
morning sun dawning on the placid 
course of the river, which had the pre- 
ceding evening reflected the turrets and 
groves of the convent, but whose waters- 
now glided by dismantled walls, and were 
fringed with inverted trees, patches of 
verdure dotting naked rocks, and beds 
of saud and slime poured into the bosom 



of gardens. In the sudden joy of libera- 
tion, they ahuost forgot the circum- 
stances of danger and distress by which 
they were still suiTounded, till recalled 
by the necessity of immediate shelter for 
Ildefonsa. A perplexed consultation \m» 
Iield. It was dangerous to remain near 
the convent, though in ruins ; it was 
dangerous to return to the town. Of any 
local resource nearer than Puzzoli, Anni- 
bal and his servant v/ere ignorant, and 
there it was impossible, in IldefonsaV 
exhausted state, to proceed. They were 
relieved by Ildefonsa herself, who recol- 
lected a retreat where neither pursuit nor 
accident was likely to betray them. Thi- 
ther she was borne by Annibal, who felt, 
while watching her dim eye, and listen- 
ing to her painful and broken respiration,, 
an agony of domestic intimate distress, 
such as had never accompanied the high 
and strange events in which he had beea 
lately conversant. 



It was a hut rudely built of sods, ce* 
mented by the intertwisted roots and fo- 
liage of the verdure with which they were 
covered, and roofed with wicker, over 
which the trees that surrounded it had 
shed a profuse covering of leaves. They 
were not surprised to see it yet standing, 
for thcv knew that sliaht structures often 
survive those shocks which overturn pa- 
laces. ** This," said Ildefonsa as they 
supported her into it, and strewed their 
vests over the bed of moss on which they 
placed her, *' this was the habitation of 
a recluse. His habits were solitary and 
gloomy ; the peasants believed him a 
being conscious of some great crime, or 
engaged in some dark pursuit. They 
dieaded to approach his hut while living; 
he has been dead some days, and their 
reluctance to visit it is probably greater. 
Here we are safe, for superstition secures 
us from every intruder." 

Annibal groaned incredulously. The 



care of every further arrangement was 
left to Filippo, who planned with his 
usual address, and executed with his 
usual caution and spirit. He resolv- 
ed, as soon as the confusion of the 
disaster had somewhat abated, to re- 
turn to the town, and there, with the 
clamorous grief of a domestic, to bewail 
his master, whom he was to represent as 
having perished in the ruins of the con- 
vent ; at the same time he was to learn 
the reports circulated concerning the 
causes of his and the Signora Ildefonsa's 
disappearance. He was to remove from 
the house where they had lived every 
article that might either lead to a disco- 
very of his master's name, or minister to 
their comfort in their woodland abode ; 
and whatever was yet necessary during 
their sojourn there, he was to procure 
from another village, which he purposed 
to visit in disguise. Annibal, satisfied 
of; his talents and fidelity, suffered him 
to arrange his plans without interruption, 



while he hung over his pallid love, and 
saw with more anguish her forced and 
patient smiles, than the expression of 
pain and weakness with which they con- 
tended ineffectually. 

Filippo in about an hour set out, and 
Annibal was left alone with Ildefonsa. 
During this interval he experienced new 
and peculiar feelings ; he felt he had 
opened a new page in tlie history of 
liuman misery. His rank had been ex- 
alted, and his youth was passed in the 
downy repose of luxury ; his wishes were 
anticipated by the diligence of a hundred 
domestics, and of wants he had formed 
conceptions as clear as the inhabitant of 
the torrid zone may have of the cold, 
and darkness, and Mnntry horrors of 
Greenland. His distresses were wholly 
intellectual and imaginary ; he had yet 
to learn that there were such evils as cold, 
and want, and destitution, and on. this 
day he learnt it with bitter force. 



To spread over Ildefonsa's couch every 
garment he could spare ; to close every 
cranny of the hut with the driest leaves 
and moss he could find ; to vary her 
scanty furniture a thousand times, and 
still find something to be rectified m 
every change ; to sohcit her lost appetite 
with the late and tasteless forest fruits — 
all this he could do. But to read in her 
dim eye wants he could not satisf;y ; to 
know that assistance was so near, yet 
not dare to implore it; that there, were 
ten thousand alleviations of pain and 
weakness for which she languished, and: 
which the wishes of soUtary affection 
could never bring; that he had often 
scoffed at and wasted as superfluous what 
now he would welcome as a treasure — 
this he could 7iot do ; it was insupport- 
able : he almost reviled the elements as 
voluntary ministers of mischief, and was 
only restrained from violence of complaint 


234 FATAL revenge; or, 

by the fear of alarming the sufferer for 
whom he trembled. 

Filippo returned tottering under a bur- 
den of every thing that inventive solici- 
tude could provide. A plenteous meal 
was prepared, and a fire kindled, which 
they recollected, if seen, might confirm 
the superstition of the peasantry, and 
throw a stronger spell of fearful security 
around their wild abode. The intelli- 
gence of Filippo corresponded with their 
conjectures. Annibal was supposed to 
have perished in the fall of the tower 
which had freed him ; no suspicion of his 
escape existed. Of Ildefonsa he had heard 
nothing, but the same opinion respecting 
her prevailed in the convent; for the 
monk who was employed to assassinate 
her, dreading the rage of Schemoli and 
the abbess, averred that she had perished 
by the blow he gave her as he fled ; and 
as the convulsions of the earth had ra- 


vaged even the subterranean apartments 
of the convent, breaking up vaults and 
overthrowing shrines, the disappearance 
of her corse excited neither surprise nor 
suspicion. Seated now amid compara- 
tive abundance, while Annibal saw or 
Iioped he saw the wan cheek of Ildefonsa 
grow warm in the ruddy light, and Fi- 
lippo, with characteristic vivacity, laugh- 
ed, shouted, and bounded round his 
master and the Signora (for no influence 
could prevail on him to sit or partake 
the meal with them) ; each of them re- 
counted the extraordinary circumstances 
under which they had again met, after 
being separated by the rudest shocks of 
both natural and moral violence. 

The escape of Annibal has been already 
related ; that of Ildefonsa (who after 
being preserved from assassination by 
Ippolito, was afterwards separated from 
him by the shock of an earthquake) was 
owing to the numerous subterranean pas- 

236 FATAL revenge; or, 

sages of the convent, Avhich extended to 
the ()ilnk of the river, and into one of 
winch she had been precipitated by the 
vaidted roof opening beneath her feet, 
and enclosing her with such expedition, 
that Ippo^ito saw her no more. She had 
descended with httle hurt, and soon dis- 
covered where she was by the lamps 
which glimmered before a subterranean 
shrine of St. Ursula. At this she was 
prostrating herself for protection, when 
another chasm yawned over her head, 
and she beheld through it, \vhen her 
terrors permitted her to see, Filippo, who 
extended his arms, and called on her in 
tones of encouragement. She was about 
to avail herself of his plan for extricating 
her, when the voice of Annibal, whom 
the windings of the passage excluded 
from the light, reached her ear, and 
lighting the extinguished torch which 
her assassin had dropped, she pursued 
the sound, and discovered him suspended, 



as she related, over a cavity, into which 
a step had been destruction. On con- 
cluding their narratives, both turned to 
Filippu, whose account was brief and 
simple. On learning the imprisonment 
of his master, he had in vain supplicated 
to be permitted to share it with [lim. He 
had been driven from the convent with 
violence; ^^ but no one," as he said, 
'^ could drive him from sitting down be- 
neath its walls.-' Here, though he knew 
his presence was no protection, he yet 
dreaded there was danger in his absence, 
and continued therefore to linger and to 
lament, till he was astonished by the 
sight of two figures, one of whom he 
knew to be Ildefonsa, descending from 
the gardens of the convent, and gliding 
along the brink of the river. His mind 
was at first clouded by fantastic fear, 
but when he could no longer doubt that 
the figure he saw was *' the real and 
living Signora," he prepared to follow 


233 FATAL revenge; or, 

her, assured of safety from the protection 
that was extended to ha\ Just at this 
moment a commotion of the earth sepa- 
rated the figures he was observing ; the 
lady sunk into the ground, and the ca- 
vaher was wafted down the stream with 
a rapidity that mocked the sight. The 
lady, however, was Fihppo's principal 
object, lie observed that the shocks were 
slight and partial, though the convent, 
situated on an eminence, almost exca- 
vated by subterranean rece^ses, and mined 
by the lapse of a river, was shaken to 
ruins by it. When personal danger there- 
fore had ceased, he examined that part of 
the bank where Ildefonsa had disappeared. 
The hollow sound of his steps convinced 
him there was a cavity beneath ; the 
apertures made by the earthquake were 
but slightly and irregularly closed with 
masses of earth and stone. He removed 
with his hands those which obstructed 
the spot near which he beheld her sink, 
7 and 


and by the lights which twinkled in the 
cemetery far beneath, he discovered Ilde- 
fonsa prostrate at the shrine of St. Ursula. 
From thence her liberation was easy. 

The evening was passed in congratula- 
tions on their marvellous escape, in anti- 
cipations of future security and happiness, 
and by Annibal in regret that his brother 
had been so near, unseen by him, and had 
probably perished in the disastrous com- 
motion of the night. This regret was in- 
creased by a disappointed wish of meet- 
ing and conferring with Ippolito, between 
the cause and object of whose persecution 
and his own he began to trace a resem- 
blance, pregnant with singular suspi- 
cions. Filippo promised, if possible, to 
procure some intelligence of him in his 
next excursion ; and Annibal then retir- 
ing to the porch of the hut, left Ilde- 
fonsa, with unprompted delicacyy to the 
sole possession of her humble apartment. 

AsUdefonsa's wound was slight, and her 


240 FATAL revenge; oh, 

weakness local, she recovered rapidly ; 
and the assiduous tenderness of Annibal 
was aided by the vivacious intelligence 
of Filippo, who related with strong hu- 
mour the conjectures of the superstitious 
villagers about Annibal and Ildefonsa, 
of whose disastrous passion they imagined 
that the figures seen dimly on the brink 
of the river were a visionary representa- 
tion ; and they had more than the praise 
of common courage who would venture 
at night near the spot v»'here the shade of 
the ill-fated votaress was supposed to seek 
the sanctuary of consecrated rest, and 
that of her tempter to be crafted down 
the current in a bark into which he was 
inviting her, and whose progress tracked 
the waters with furrovv^s of flame. 

Of Ippolito, Filippo failed to procure 
any intelligence, as he had been appre- 
hended immediately on his arrival at 
Puzznli by the order of the Inquisition, 
and the secrecy which marks the pro- 


ceedings of that tribunal rarely permits a 
vestige of its victims to be traced beyond 
the precincts of its walls. That the bro- 
thers were so near without meeting was 
not surprising ; Bellano, and the village 
where Annibal resided, though near the 
convent, were in opposite directions, and 
Ippolito had delayed at the former only 
one night. 

Ildefonsa's health was now so far re- 
stored, that her care was transferred to 
Annibal, whose attendance on her she 
feared had impaired his strength and 
spirits, and she urged him repeatedly to 
■excursions in the forest, whose ** wild 
and woodland scenery would breathe 
freshness on his mind and frame." He 
<leclincd her importunities, or, when he 
complied it was for a short time and with 
reluctance. ** Why will you not," said 
she earnestly, '* go out and wander in 
the forest for an hour?" — *' Why will 
you press me thus ?" said Annibal, who 

VOL. III. M appeared 

242 lATAL revenge; OB, 

appeared to have reasons for lils reluct- 
ance he could not avow. *' Because it 
is now the hour, and — " ** The Itourl 
who told you this xvas the hour?'' said 
Annibal M'ildly. — "" Do I not know that 
night is the time for you.'' — " Why, 
what is the meaning of this ? why do you 
thus dicell 0)1 night?" — *' Because it is 
unsafe to walk by day, and expose us to 
discovery." — ^' True, true; was that all?" 
said he vaguely. *' That was all, in 
truth." — ** Perhaps," said he after a 
gloomy pause, *' there is still less safety 
by night than day." — ^* I do not under- 
stand you." — *' So much the better," said 
he impatiently. '^ But why," said Ilde- 
fonsa with fond tenacity, '* why will you 
not wander for an hour along the path 
you described so vividly to me the 
other evening;, where the trunks of trees 
and lingering foliage are tinged with 
colours richer than summer, and the pale 
gleams of sky between the branches, in- 


tersected with spray and fibre, resembled, 
roLi said, the narrow shafted lights of a 
cloistered passage : 3^ou described it so 
forcibly, I thought I saw you there ?" — 
*' Sazv me there f said Annibal starting, 
*' Heaven forefend ! No, no, impossible; 
you did not see me there." — *' I would I 
"Were able," said Ildefonsa, reverting to 
her indisposition. *' I tell you, you 
would not he able ^'' said Annibal empha- 
tically. *' And will you not wander this 
-evening?" — ^*No; I dread that I should 
lose myself if I did." — '* I think I could 
discover you if you did." — ^' Discover 
me?" — *' Yes, discover you. Is there a 
4eJi or a labyrinth there ?" — *^ There is. 
aiKl it is dark and horrible,"—'' You 
drew we out of one that was indeed dark 
and horrible, and I think you have tended 
me so well I sliould have strength to ex- 
4.ricate you." — ** I fear you have not,'' 
said Annibal in a hollow voice, *^ no 
wwer can avail to reach or to raise me." 
M 2 —'' Heavens! 


• — *' Heavens! you talk and look as 5f 
you had fallen into it already." — *' Not 
yet, I have not yet," said he absently; 
'* but do not press me to walk hi the 
forest." She ceased, for she perceived 
he was answering his own thoughts ; nor 
did she venture to mention the subject 
again ; for though on all others Annibai 
spoke with the fervour of a lover, and 
the chaste solicitude of a husband, yet 
the slightest allusion to the forest, or to 
his nightly excursions there, at once 
overshadowed him with a gloom, which 
Avas only interrupted by starts of moody 

Yet she observed, that when unsoli- 
cited he often stole forth, and returned 
with the quick step and startled eager- 
ness of one who feared or fled from pur- 
suit. At length Ildefonsa found hersetf 
no longer compelled by weakness to re- 
tard their journey to Puzzoli, for which 
Filippo set out to make preparation. The 



joy this intelligence inspired she shared 
in an eminent degree herself. 

In spite of the high and well grounded 
confidence she felt in Annibal's pure and- 
noble love, her timidity was terrified by 
her dangers and adventurous prospects, 
and her delicacy retreated from being the 
daily associate of men who, however ge« 
nerous, tender, and respectful, repelled 
her from the very circumstance of their 
sex. Her confidence resembled the image 
of Cybele, which resisted every effort to 
remove it till it was drawn along by the 
zone of a "cir gin. Her feelings, delicate, 
vivid, and evanescent, resembled the Peri 
of the eastern mythology, whose subtle 
essence is subsisted by perfumes, and 
whom a oTosser aliment than the fra- 
grance of flowers would confound and 

Early in the evening of the day 
previous to their departure, Filippo, 
who had exerted more than usual dili- 
gence, arrived at the hut of the forest, 


246 FATAL revenge; or, 

with every requisite for their journey. 
He had engaged horses and a guide^ 
whom they were to meet in the morning 
at the skirts of the wood ; and witli the 
natural joy of a domestic, who heheves 
where there is splendour there must be 
safety, he described the munificent affec- 
tion and superb paUice of the prior, where 
he expected soon to behold them blazing 
in magnificence and fortified by power, 
scarce remembering the mischiefs of vul- 
gar malignity at the distance to which 
they were removed, and dispensing par- 
don or punishment to the wretches from 
whose dungeons they had recently emerg- 
ed themselves. Annibal and Ildefonsa 
listened to his sanguine promises with 
confidence, tempered by remembered suf- 
ferings ; and satisfaction, exalted by the 
benevolence of mutual passion. '' And 
shall we," said Ildefonsa, '^remember the 
hut that sheltered us in the forest, and 
the cluster of pine under which we met 



m the garden of the convent?'' — *' 1 
shall,'' said Annlbal, ''for there you first 
owned you loved me." — ^^ And I," said 
Ildefonsa, '* for I past every interval of 
your absence I could spare on that spot. 
Will you forgive me, Annibal? I thought 
those hours even pleasanter than those 
to whose remembrance I devoted them. 
Th^re is a nameless charm wliich the 
places where we have met those we love 
derive even from the loss of their pre- 
sence, I can delight in, but I cannot 
define it. 'Tis the faded wreath, 'tis the 
dim light of the banquet that has ceased, 
but whose luxuries still linger on the 
sense ; 'tis the fairy circlet, that prints 
the field with brighter green when the 
elf-dance is done, and the whisper of 
their music is low."—" You are an en- 
thusiast, love !" — '^ I am, and I am glad 
of it, for you are gloomy ; life and reality 
have not joys enough for you, and I have 
power to draw them from another sphere, 



even from that where I sought them be- 
fore I knew you. When the wayward fit 
is on you, I will spread wings you have 
not yet seen, and fly into other regions ; 
and there, like the sylphs I have imagined 
I saw in a summer noon, employing a 
hundred tiny pencils to paint the rose- 
leaf, and fluttering their fairy plumage 
to giv^e coolness to the breeze, or diffuse 
the breath of the lily ; so will I flutter 
about, collecting stores of mental sweet- 
ness and beauty to pour over your head, 
like the balai of the enchanter, that dis- 
. solves the sullen spell of sleep. I have 
heard of masquerades in the world, I 
will put my mind in masquerade ^ov you; 
I will call up the airy shapes of existence, 
past, future, impossible; I will invest 
them in shapes now sportive, now solemn, 
now wild ; I will feast you with forms of 
visionary beauty, brighter because unseen 
by the world's eye ; I will bid them pour 
strange music in your ear, sweeter be- 


cause none but yours ever caught it." — 
** Sweet, sweet love !" said Annibal kiss- 
ing her hands with unresisted fervour, 
** you witch me with your blandishments; 
will you be thus lovely, thus enchanting 
in the world ? will your fancy flutter thus 
wildly, and warble thus sweetly in the 
gross atmosphere that shall soon enclose 

*^ I do not know; I have heard that 
the world is fatal to mental pleasures ; 
that few who mix in it preserve their 
fancy, and fewer still their sensibility. 
But granting that my feelings were some- 
times the victims of deception or disap- 
pointment, and selfish levity deridedwhatv 
it never experienced, still, as those feel- 
ings withered, my judgment would ripen, 
and the tears that flowed over my young 
mind's wasted prime would be assuaged 
by the lesson that their fall had amelio- 
rated my heart. '^ Annibal, who had 
fallen into the *' wayward fit" as she 
M- 3 spake, 

250 FATAL revenge; or, 

spake, now interrupted her with conjec- 
tures relative to the picture which so 
strongly resembled her, and the mystery 
which overshadowed her birth and in- 
fancy, so strangely under the control of 
a nameless persecutor. 

'* Nay, if you are for a romance,^* 
said Ildefonsa playfully, I will call for 
Fillppo's mandoline, and sing you a sad 
tale of a lady and a knight, so very deep 
in love and woe, none ever resembled 
them but the Fugitives of the Forest.'' 
At this moment they heard Filippo touch- 
ing his mandoline in the porch of the 
hut, and caught by the wild prelude, 
listened to a ballad he had learnt from 
some woodland minstrel 

Oii, far he fares ! though his step is light,. 

His heart is heavy, sore ; 
And dank around fell the sweepy shower^ 

Ajad ibrilly the wipd did roar. 



Oh ! was It a flash of lightning blue 

That lit the briery dell, . 
Or rush from cottage lattice low, 

Or taper from hermit ceil I 

Whatever it be he faster hies, 

Whate'er it be he draws nigb,- 
And down in briery dell so dusk 

A circled dance did spy. 


And round about, a vassal rout. 

And some that descants rung ; 
Too wild, I wis, for mortal ear, 

Too sweet for mortal tongue. 


« What cheer, what cheer, my revel feere V^ 

This seely wight did say ; 
♦♦ I joy to see your featly round. 

And list your roundelay." 


'• And who art thou (bold wight we trow), 

That hearest the elf-voice sing ; 
For we be nightly fays that here 




Then all by unknown impulse strange. 

Amid the rout ran he, 
While round about the changed shapes 

Did dance with shrieking glee. 


And every form, ere now so fair, 

Grew grim and ghastly to view ; 
And thin as mist were their shadowy shapes. 

And dim their spectre hue. 


And the taper's light was quench'd amain. 

And the music a howl became ; 
Then shook the ground, and the dancers round 

Were wafted in veering dame. 


Then his heart beat quick, and his breath grew thick, 
And he sunk to the ground outright ; 

And with a shriek the shadowy crew 
Evanish' d from his sight. 


Beware, beware, all ye that hear, 

As my harp's wild chords I ring I 
Beware ye stray through briery dell 

Where nightly fairies sing. 



They Avere pleased with the wild me- 
lody of this ballad ; but when Ildefonsa 
began her tale of ' ^ love and woe, " An- 
nibal listened as to the inmate of another 
region. She had always the power of 
recalling other times, and pouring around 
her hearer the imaginary scenery of her 
song ; she looked the very genius of ro- 
mantic minstrelsy ; lier voice was like, 
the sound for which fancy listens amid 
ruins ; her song woke a beam of memory 
to play on faint and distant images, as 
the moon, hailed by the nightingale^ 
advances to shed a melancholy light on 
the mouldering forms of antiquity* 

The Bozver of Rose and Eglantine. 

Corae, sit with me in twilight bower. 

The bower of rose and eglantine ; 
For this still light and evening hour, 

Best suit with such a laij as mine* 


254* FATAL revenge; or, 

»Tis moonshine all, the lattice fringed 

With rosiere rich, the garden paPd ; 
And the green path, touch'd by that Hght^ 

Glistered like sheeny emerald, 

'Twas silence all ; deeply she sat 

On terrass*d tower, and crested spire, 
Hush'd the low rippling of the moat. 

And woo'd the moonshine's stilly fire. 


*Mid those fair scenes, Oh ! who so iair 

As she with pearly coronal ? 
She leads along a stately knyght. 

Whose dark form gleams in ebon mail. 


Like knyght and ladye fayre they seem, 
Who meet for love in moonshine bower, 

Yet sadde was seene that ladye's cheare, 
And sadder was her paramoure. 


She had him through the garden's maze, 

Where faery-rings the green bank studd$, 
Where opal hues of shadowy light 

Dimm'd orient ilower and rubied bud* 




She had him to the margent trim 

Of fountayne that in moonlight played, ' 

Where garden-gleams, and tremulous bowers, 
And silver sleepe of veiled flowers, 

Like land of faery seemed, throughe mist, 
Its soft and shadowy archings mad«. 


But when she had him to the bower, 

The bower of rose and eglantine, 
How fail my harp's sad tones to tell, 

Oh ! woeful knyght, that look of thine ! 


He shook the mail on his harnessed side. 
He shook the dark plume on his crestj 

He dared not on that ladye look, 
Though she hung and wept upon his brea«t> 


That ladye was as bright of hue 

As ever shone in princelye bower, 
All pale for grief, but sure more fayre 

Than if she blushed m beautye's flower, 


For she had loved that statelye knyghtCj 
In bowers of rose and eglantioe, 


And left him for a royal love, * 

Whose gawds around her coldly shine. 


And fickle woman's worthless pride 
Drew tears that o'er her wan cheek fell. 

And sorrow and shame had marred her prime. 
And stained the charms she prized too nvclL 


And still the thought of her first love 
Did hurt her mind with sweet annoy, 

It lit a dream more bright than hope. 
It wokeagiief more dear than joy. 


For it was not hope, and it was not joy. 

That woke her sunk eye's wandering fire,. 
'Twas memory, wooing passion's shade, 

'Twas grief that glowed o'er dead desire. 


As half she sunk into the bower. 

The fleckered bower so tremulous bright^ 

And her wan cheek, like winter rose, 

Show'd through the bowery foliage light— 

* Mar/, sister to Henry the Eighth of England, 
was attached to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, one 
of the most accomplished knights of his age ; she mar* 
ried the King of France, 
^ «0h 



" Oh Gome with me into the bower,. 

The bower of rose and eglantine, 
And be my spirit's paramour 

'Mid scenes that say — Thou still art mine. 


*< I do not think of thy burnished eye, 

Or ringlets of thy dark brown hair, 
Or curved brow of ebon quaint, 
Or cheek of summer's sunny paint. 

Love's y<?r»2j are faded from my mind. 
And, but its soul, nought lingers there. 


** Like spirits that in moonshine meet, 

We'll talk of love's evanished bliss, 
And mingle memory's shadows sweet. 

With parting passion's last cold kiss.. 


" And far and faint, as cloudy tints 

That still through westering twilight show^ 

Dim blazon of departed day, 

Forgotten forms of bliss shall flow. 


" Then come with me into the bower, 

The bower of rose and eglantine. 
And be my spirit's paramour, 

'Mid scenes that say — Thou still art mine.'^ 




The moon was on her tear^bright eye, 
The moon was on her breast of snow. 

He turned him from the witching sight, 
And faultered faint, and deep, and low. 


*< I cannot come within thy bower, 

1 cannot melt in moonlight grove, 
All these fair scenes are dark and lorn, 

For, lady, I no longer love. 


<* Yet still I see how fair thou art, 
Too well I see thou*rt wondrous fair j 

As the lone pilgrim's parting feet 

Still turn the twilight fane to greet, 

Though long my heart has left thy shrine, 

Mine eye still loves to linger there. 


" ^Twere perilous in secret bower 

To parly with a form like thine,.. 
And list that bland and breathed spell 

That woos the woven eglantine. 


<* I am a knight of faith unstainM, 

And thou art an high and royal dame, ; 

We may not love lik^ chambered page, 
Nor tempt the losel- s wanton shame. 

»* Oh ! 


** Oh ! lady, lov'd so passing weir, 

In dear devotion truly held ! 
Why was thy love so light and weak? 

Why was thy heart by folly spell'd ? 

«< When my nerved arm was first in fight, 

When hoary eld my voice rever^^, 
When honour plumed my youthful crest, 

When ladies loved and warriors fear*d— 


** Then thou, like a most blighting frost, 
Didst come upon my glorious youth, 

O'erthrew my valour's stately etem, 
And nipped the buds of vernal truth. 


" My wane of life comes sadly on, 

My voice is heard in halls no more, 
My lance has rusted by my side, 

The pride of knightly thought is oVr, 


♦< And would'st thou «o'u/ — Oh! lady cease. 
Tempt not my dark and dreamless rest, 

I'll bear my load of silent woe, 
AU, but the fear thou art not blest. 

<* The 

^60 FATAL revenge; or, 


« The diamonds sheen that bind thy brows, 
Are mock'd by clouds that sadden there, 

And they again are dimm'd by tears, 
To me than gems more rich, more rare. 


♦« Thou art not blest — Oh ! that thou wertj 
For by my heart's evanish'd joy 

So might not false love taint thy bloom. 
And late and vain regrets, annoy. 


" I'd doiF this mailed coat of pride, 
Wind round mine arm the rosary, 

*Vail to the cowl my helmed head. 

And breathe my life in prayer for thee,. 


« Thy dying love's forgotten lair 

Should be some hermit's tapered shed. 

Thy buried love's untrophied tomb 
Some sainted valley's lowly bed., 


** But oh ! that pale and pined cheek 
Bids e'en that hopeless wish be vain,, 

That wish whose wild, unselfish aim 

Nov/ sooths with joy, now stings with pain. 

« Ohi 



** Oh ! come enchantress, from thy bower, 
I may not, must not, talk, with thee, 

Come but to tell me what I feel- 
Tell — ^is it joy, or agony. 

•« Still on Its light, dew-spangled spray 

Hang my warm tear-drops unremov'dj 
And still those breathing roses seem. 

Oh God! — as sweet as when I lov*d, 


^< Oh ! come enchantress, from thy bower, 

I may not, must not talk with thee. 
But I can tell thee what I feel — 
The b/iss of love's strong agony." 


-He led her from the bowery shade, 

A tear was in her humbled eye. 
He led her to the palace-pile, 

No ear might catch their unbreath'd sigh. 


But vestal stole, and penance pale, 

That lady's woful rath did prove, 
When told the knell of the requiem bell 

That lovely knight had died for love. 



To song again succeeded ** converse 
sweet," and Annibal, whose thoughts 
had been occupied by the wonders 
of recent safety and escape, now en- 
quired by what means the extraordinary 
appearances at the funeral (when he be- 
lieved her dead,) had been produced and 
conducted. ^' Of that strange trans- 
action," said Ildefonsa, *' I can know 
but little, but believe that as my death 
was determined on by my invisible ene- 
my and the abbess, so it was resolved 
to impose on those who might presume 
to inquire and examine, by a funeral; 
in which I was to assume the aspect of 
a natural death. Had any violence been 
used, this had been impossible; from the 
effects, therefore, I conjecture I was 
bulled by an opiate into the resemblance 
of death, and in this state I was exposed 
as a corse, and in this state (after the 
tumult occasioned by your interposition 
had ceased) was conveyed to the ceme- 


tery of the convent, where your bro- 
ther rescued me from assassination. It 
is probable the operation of theidrug was 
limited to a certain period, during* which 
no violence could rouse me ; for of the 
tumult at my funeral, or the wound given 
nie in the vault, I have not the slightest 
remembrance, though when my faculties 
returned, they returned without disturb- 
ance or imperfection. This is all I am 
able to tell or to conjecture, except that 
I believe the malignity of my enemies 
was accelerated by the report of your 
attempts to liberate me; and that there- 
fore my existence is of more consequence 
than they have been willing to allow 
me to believe." 

Annibal was about to join her in 
this conclusion, when Filippo grasping 
his master's arm, pointed with t;ager 
silence to the chimney, down which 
a dark object was slowly descending. 
They caught it as it fell into the flames, 
and examined it with eyes that doubted 



their own evidence — it was the hood of a 
MonliS habit! With an immediate im- 
pulse, Annibal rushed out, and at the 
same moment called to Filippo for his 
carbine. Filippo, who hastened to him, 
found him already plunged far into the 
forest, while Ildefonsa, with fruitless pre- 
caution, extinguished the light, and 
awaited their return in terror that hardly 
breathed. They returned after some time 
pale and spent ; Filippo could not, and 
Annibal would not, tell any thing. He 
begged of Ildefonsa, in a voice of pertur- 
bation, not to be^ disturbed, and breath- 
ed every moment an impatient wish for 
morning. Morning, however, was yet 
far distant, and Annibal examining agam 
the charge of Filippo's carbine, withdrew 
to the porch of the hut, where he watched 
in silence. About an hour had elapsed, 
when a loud shriek from Ildefonsa re- 
called him. She averred earnestly, that 
she had seen the face and part of the 
6 figure 


figure of a tall man in dark drapery, who 
for some time continued at the casement, 
viewing: her intently. She confessed 
herself much enfeebled by her fears, and 
rising from her couch, intreated Annibal 
not to quit her for the remainder of the 

The porch of the hut was secured 
therefore by an immense log of pine, thnt 
had been the table of the recluse, and 
the party endeavoured to obtain such 
rest as can be snatched at intervals of 
fear. In a short time, however, Ilde- 
fonsa, whose spirits were too much agi- 
tated for sleep, observed Annibal rise, 
and go to the casement, where with a va- 
riety of silent but earnest gesture, he 
appeared to confer with some one whh- 
out. She watched him till her terror 
could no longer be repressed. ** Anni- 
bal," said she gently, *' why will you 
not sleep?" — ** I had rather never sleep, 
than be visited by such dreams." — **Ifear 
VOL. in. N thev 

^66 FATAL REVENtiE ; Ot?, 

tlicy are melancholy, indeed." — '^ How 
do you know? What have you heard, or 
Jancled you heard" — '^ Thrice I have 
heard you in your hroken sleep repeat 
those mournful words which were the 
last I heard from you in the garden of 
the convent." — ** What words were 
those?" — " I cannot repeat them, they 
were ahout some predktion.'' — '* True, 
oh true ! Are you sure you heard no- 
thing more?" — *' Nothing more." — '* If 
3'ou should, Ildefonsa, iXo not helieveit; 
imagine it the voice of fancy ; do not 
think it proceeds from me ; men can- 
not answer for what they utter in their 
sleep ; hut should you hear any thing, 
rememher to tell it me, and then forget 
it as soon as you can." — ^* I will." — 
** Do not deceive me." — ** Deceive 
you?"—*' Yes, Avhat can I trust, when 
my own senses are false?" — '* Trust 
me,'' — '^ Ah ! many have been betray- 
ed by those who watched their sleep ; 

1 will 


1 will not sleep again ; would it were 

Ildefonsa for the remainder of the night 
(counterfeited ileep ; in the morning they 
were conducted to the opposite verge of 
the forest, by Filippo, where the guide 
with horses and mules awaited them. 
Filippo had suggested the policy of taking 
a circuitous road to Puzzoli, (in order to 
avoid the vicinity of the convent, or the 
village) which in consequence of this 
arrangement they did not expect to reach 
till the close of day. They stopped 
at a small village at noon, and pro- 
ceeded on their journey in the mild 
decline of a genial winter day. 

Security and happiness were now so 
near, that it was perverseness to distrust 
them. An emersion from dungeons and 
death, from struggles with the devasta- 
tions of nature, and a rude shelter in 
the recesses of a forest, into the pomp 
of wealth, the luxuries of art, and the 
beneficence of affection, and this illumed 
N 2 the 

^6S FATAL revenge; or, 

by the rich and radiant light which youth 
and love shed on the perspective of 
life, such a prospect was enough to dazzle 
mental sight even stronger, and better 
accustomed to the fluctuating objects of 
life than theirs. They inwardly con- 
srratulatcd themselves on their distance 
from dangers they would not now men- 
tion to each other, and listened with 
complacency to the garrulous gaiety of 
Filippo, and the vaunting prolixity of 
the guide, who, by his own narrative, 
had encountered and escaped more dan- 
gers, than Hannibal ever met on the 
Alps, or Cambyses in the Desert. 

** I do not like that man," said Ilde- 
fonsa, ** there is a mixture of weakness 
and fierceness in his face I have seldom 
seen.'' — '' I have sec?i no face but yours 
since we quitted the hut," «aid Annibal. 
At this moment theguide suddenly turned 
in a direction opposite to that they had 
expected. *' Where is it you are going ?" 



said Filippo. ** Where I was hired t«) 
go," said the man. ** But this cannot 
be the direction to Puzzoli," said An- 
iiibal. '* Will you not permit me to 
know the road better than you, Signor ?" 
rephed the man. '* I will not permit 
you to know the points of East and West 
better than me," said AnnibaL '* But 
you — you forget, Signor, that I am 
obliged to take a circuitous road." — *' It 
is not necessary," said Annibal, " since 
we have quitted the vicinity of the f<>- 
rest." — '* It is more so than ever," said 
the man. " I repeat, it is of no con- 
sequence," said Annibal. '* It is of as 
much consequence to me as my life," 
replied the man. Annibal believing he 
alluded to the necessity of his safe and 
faithful conduct as a guide, ceased to 
contend with him, and quitting the high 
road they pursued a heathy track, whose 
limits were skirted by a distant wood. 
^* Do you conduct many by this road r" 


270 FATAL revenge; or. 

said Ildefonsa. — '* Not lately, Signora/' 
said the man, *^ but I have in my time 
conducted a number." — " It is at least 
a secret one," said Filippo — '^ There can 
be none more so," replied the guide. 
** And safe and certain?" said Annibah 
** Perfectly certain, Signor." — '* Its 
gloom oppresses me," said Ildefonsa. ** I 
never heard a traveller utter a complaint 
of it, after his journey was done/' ob- 
served the man. The track now ter- 
minated in the wood, in which no con- 
tinuance of road or path was visible, but 
the guide entered it without hesitation, 
and they followed him. Here they wan- 
dered for some time amid the entangle* 
ments of an untrodden wood, wlien the 
guide suddenly stopped. '' I fear I 
l)ave lost my way," said he, growing- 
pale with unaffected fears. *' How [" 
exclaimed the travellers. '* Theij are not 
here," said the man, with unrepressed 
terror, " and I am lost."—'* Villain, 



you arc lost," said Filippo, levelling 
a carbine at liim. ** Hold," siiid Anni- 
bal, who, though iirdes])air, was deli- 
berate, he rode up to the man, and 
griped him by the throat, ^' Villain, 
you have betrayed us, and betrayed 
yourself, you have sold both body and 
soul to perdition. Hear me, villain, you 
have but one chance for existence — con 
duct us from this forest, and conduct 
us safely ; my servant and I will ride on 
each side of you — come liere^ Filippo — 
on each side of you, villain ! each with a 
loaded carbine at your head ; and, by 
my immortal soul, if I but see you 
faulter, or wince, or th'm'k awry, (for 
I shall see 3^our very thoughts,) that mo* 
inent your brains shall be scattered about 
the road, and your soul be the prey of 
him who has tempted you to murder 1'* 
The man listened, half dead, to his me- 
naces, and turned tremblingly to quit 
the w^ood, but at that moment a shrill 


S72 FATAL revenge; or, 

whistle pierced their ears, and a number, 
with whom it was madness to contend, 
poured around them. Anuibal and Fi- 
lippo turned on them in the fierceness 
of despair, and the party enraged at the 
appearance of resistance, prepared to fire. 
Annihal, at the same jnoment, discharg- 
ed his carbine, and then rushed forward 
wath his sword,' when a shot from a 
villain, whom he had wounded, grazed 
his- wrist, and compelled him to drop 
his weapon ; endeavouring to recover it 
with his left hand, he lost his balance, 
and falling to the ground, was stunned 
by a blow from one of the assassins' 
horses, who was terrified at feeling his 
jrider fall beneath his feet. In the mean 
time Filippo, who, in the impulse of a 
just revenge had discharged his car- 
bine at the head of the wretch who 
had betrayed them, before he had time 
again to load it, was assailed with such 
detei'mined fury, as made it evident his 



life was the object of the ruffians. He 
defended himself with courage, but 
when he saw his master fall, and the 
lady, who had fainted, surrounded by 
the band, his arm grew weak, and he 
perished almost without aiming another 

H 3 CHAP, 

274 FATAL revenge; or, 


Thou must Speak that which, in its darkest houi* 
Pushed to extremity, 'midst ringing dizziness, 
The ear of desperation doth receive, 
And I must listen to it. 

Miss Baily's " Rayner."* 

When- Annibal's senses returned, he 
found himself extended on a bed. He 
looked round, he was in a low, mean 
apartment, dimly lit ; it was night ; a 
lamp burned near him, and as he dis- 
tinguished objects, he thought he saw 
a dark form moving in the distance. 
Nothing was plain or palpable either to 



liis iriind or senses ; he felt as if a motion, < 
a breath would dissolve the objects around 
him, and plunge him again into insensi- 
bility, or the darkness and dreadful ima- 
gery of the forest. But when he recog- 
nized the figure which advanced on hear- 
ing him move, and stood fixedly beside 
him, he dashed down his head, and hid- 
ing it in all the coverings he could catch, 
exclaimed, '* Let me be lost again 1' 
His persecutor, however, would not suf- 
fer him to relapse into insensibility. Cor- 
dials were prepared, and when they failed' 
an irresistible stimulant was applied. He 
mentioned the name of Iklefonsa, and 
Annibal instantly started up, quickened 
to the most keen and vivid perceptions 
of misery. But to awake or satisfy in- 
quiries on the subject of Iklefonsa wa3 
not the purpose of the tempter ; he only 
mentioned her to introduce the predictioit 
concerning their ill-fated loves (whicli 
he had uttered in the garden of the Ursu-^ 


57ff lATAL revenge; e>R, 

line convent to Annibal), and to appeal 
to its fulfilment. ** The object of your 
love, " said he, * * has been torn from you 
at the moment of possession, and Ife has 
chcmged its complexion at the moment it 
xvas becoming bright with hope and joy. 
Am I a deceiver now?" — ** You are a 
iiend," said Annibal. '* You rave still," 
said Schemoli. ** No, my faculties are 
too perfect ; this is night, we are in soli- 
tude, you are Lucifer, and I am your 
prey." — ^' My minister ^ and in vain have 
you sought to shnn me ; though you 
rake the wings of the morning, I must 
follow you. Annibal, never can I leave 
you till the deed for which I am doomed 
to follow you be done by your hand ; 
the chains which bind a spirit in pain, I 
know your weak human hand trembles to 
vmlock. / should plead to you for relief 
in vain; but think on yourself , think on 
your M^anderings, your persecutions, your 
fear-spent, spectre-ridden lifco The hand 



that dissolves my chain, shall also dis- 
solve that which binds in unnatural union 
a human and a departed spirit. Free 
nie from jeopardy, and j^ou free yourself 
from me; resist, and you drag about 
with you a restless wanderer, whose sha- 
dow shall darken you at noon,, and whose 
feet shall be planted by your midnight 
bed." Annibal was silent. ^MVhat sig- 
nifies that wavi«g of your hand ; can it 
reverse the laws of the nether world ? 
You have resisted th^m, and what are 
you now ? a fugitive, an exiJe, a depen- 
dant, the outcast of your family ; the 
imprecations of your father pursue you ; 
you are blasted in hope, and love, and 
fortune. What are you now ?** — ** I am 
innocent!" said Annibal. ** Yes," 
said the tempter, '* if to resist the laws- 
of destiny be innocent." 

Their conference continued all night- 
It appeared from several passages of it, 
that since his first visits to the convent 



"svhere Ilclefonsa resided, he liad been 
incessantly haunted by Scbemoli in his 
usual and undisguised form. He met 
him near the convent, he crossed him 
in his evening wanderings, he even ap* 
peared in his chamber at the house where 
he lived, ever upbraiding him with his 
wayward and foolish flight from what 
it was equally impossible to avoid or to 
destroy: ever maddening him with the 
suggestion of that subject so dark and 
horrible, which had been the topic of 
their conferences in the prison chamber 
at Muralto. Annibal's dejection (visible 
both to Ildefonsa and Filippo) had kept 
pace with his gloomy acquiescence in the 
belief of an influence exerted over him, 
with which to contend was alike impos- 
sible and impious. This dejection he. 
had eminently betrayed in his last con- 
ference with Ildefonsa in the ofarden of 
the convent, when he repeated to her a 
prediction with which his shadowy tor- 


mentor had menaced him but an hour 
before. He had also betrayed it when 
Ildefonsa pressed him to wander into the 
forest ; for in the forest he had beheld' 
his persecutor, and in the forest he had 
again been tempted to that crime, whose 
imaginary burden sat so heavy on his 
soul. All the predictions of evil were 
now verified, and the objects whose pre- 
sence had suspended the powers of his 
mind from dwelling on the subject per* 
petually obtruded on it, were now re- 
moved. He had no longer any powers^ 
of resistance or disbelief; he saw before 
him a being who, he had every reason 
to believe, had a power and commission 
not to be disobeyed. Poison could not 
suspend his existence, nor distance of 
space his agency. His tale, to a super- 
stitious mind enfeebled by. recent cala- 
mity, was irresistibly imposing ; and his 
injunctions, horrible as they were to na- 
ture, were justified by his tale. 5 


280 FATAL revenge; or, 

Annibars mind was indeed naturally 
strong, and sluggish in its operations ; 
but its strength was misapplied. It pur- 
sued visionry and falsehood with the 
conscientious energy of truth, and when 
it had found it, embraced and adhered 
to it with a vigorous tenacity that might 
have honoured virtue. Thus he was be- 
trayed by his very virtues. The stern 
activity of his intellect had only been 
employed in the acquisition of dangerous 
principles, and his unbending firmness^ 
of heart only insured that the blow he 
struck would be unerring, whether its 
impulse was derived from vice or from- 
virtue. Such was Annibal in his best 
hours; but now, enfeebled by bodily 
suffering, distracted by mental pain, his^ 
superstition aggravated by his conscience, 
and his primitive and intimate bias of 
mind confirmed by external impressions, 
such as the soberest intellects could 
hardly oppose, he yielded without resists 



ance of reason, but not without struggles 
of passion potent and terrible. The last 
convulsions of the human mind, the dis- 
solution of the moral principle ; the utter 
abdication of the injluence of reason, 
while \\tv poxver\s retained only to abuse 
it ; the frightful misrule of passion, as- 
sumed as a principle and exalted into a 
virtue, this it cannot be expected to ex- 
hibit ; and if expected, it is not possible. 
Those dreadful revolutions of the mental 
system oftener occur in silence, rarely 
express themselves by groans or gestures ; 
and if they ever employ words, they are 
only exclamations and inarticulate cries 
of passion, such as nothing but reality 
can faithfully represent, and if really re- 
presented, would be fled from in horror. 

The U7ihappy young man yielded I 

But when he had yielded, he exclaimed 
in agony, ** If there were but a parallel 
in the history of human nature for mine, 
if there were but another human being 


282 FATAL revenge; ok, 

like me beset, and lost like mCj I would 
not utter a murmur !" — "Tliere is," said 
Schemoli. *' It is impossible," said his 
victim. '^ I will produce him to you," 
said Schemoli. *' It is impossible," re- 
peated Aunibah *' He h i/oiir brother,'' 
said Schemoli. 

A long pause succeeded this tremen- 
dous disclosure, during which Anni- 
baUs mind, traversing the distant and 
connecting the remote, arrived at the 
conclusion which a meeting with his 
brother might have long ago supplied. 
He rose from the bed on which he had 
been tossing in agony. *' Who, then, 
diXtyou? answer, while I have breath to 
ask you — answer, who are you?" — ''I 
am the stranger of the vault ! I am the 
spirit of the prison chamber of JMuralto r 
— " And my brother!" — " His course 
lias been parallel with yours, and its ter- 
mination will be the same." — " Was this 
the deed to which he was fated?" — '' It 
was."— ^' And has he consented?" — '' Let 



himself tell you," said Schemoli quitting 
the apartment. 

Annibal did not seek to employ the 
interval of his absence in recollection, 
for he was now in a state of mind in 
which reflection was impossible and so- 
litude insupportable. Had Ippolito been 
disclosed to him in a blaze of light- 
ning, or been dashed at his feet by a 
whirlwind, it would scarce have drawn 
from him an exclamation. In a few 
moments Schemoli returned, accompa- 
nied by Ippolito. It was Ippolito, but 
what a change ! Annibal, who had be- 
held him but a little before he set out for 
Naples, in the richest glow of beauty 
and flush of enjoyment, now beheld him 
a skeleton, meagre, keen, and fiery, the 
very image of spir'U wasting and preying 
on the ruins of matter. Grey hairs were 
profusely scattered amid his bright locks, 
and a wild, restless fire wandered in his 
sunk eye. They looked at each other 
without speaking for some time ; but 


284 FATAL revenge; or, 

Schemoli perceiving the dawn breaking 
througli the narrow windows, hastily 
closed them, secured the door, and trim- 
ming the lamp, retired, after having ex- 
cluded every gleam of daylight. 

The two brothers were left alone; there 
were no starts of passion, no sallies of 
tragic violence ; they were beyond them 
now : no two men of this world, sitting 
down to confer on their joint business in 
the cold terms of life, ever discussed it 
more dispassionately. They now discover- 
ed what might have been discovered long 
before, that under different forms and 
trains of suggestion, they had been led 
by the same hand and to the same point. 
But this discovery suggested no fear or 
liope of deception, the single exertion of 
such powers appeared beyond the reach 
of man ; united, therefore, it was an 
evidence that the being who exerted 
them could not be human. 

Ippolito repeated to his brother the 



drcumstanccs that had occurred to him 
since his quitting Naples. ^' On the 
day," said he, '' that I was visited hy 
the stranger, as I have called him, in 
the prison of the Inquisition, in Puzzoli, 
an earthquake shattered to atoms the 
tower in which I was confined, and lihe- 
rated me. At that time I would have 
leaped into fire, water, earth, to have 
escaped from him. I am not so weak 
now as to believe that mortal elements 
can protect me from him. I sprung out 
upon a mole which extended from the 
island rock, upon which the prison stood ; 
half the surviving inhabitants of the 
town were crowded on it, embarking in 
vessels, barges, any thing that would 
bear them from the land. I leaped on 
board the first I saw, it was a small trad- 
ing vessel bound to Sicily. The steps of 
a fugitive, and the looks of a madman, 
were no wonder, and no disqualification 
in that hour of distraction. I had money, 


286 FATAL revenge; or, 

too, as I since found, for I scattered \i 
last night among a group of pilgrims 
Avho were going to beg absolution for 
one of their body who had committed a 
murder ! As I sprung on the deck, the 
jast words of the stranger rung in my 
ears. ' Bury yourself under a mountain, 
and it shall roll back from you ! rush to 
the ocean, and it shall throw you on the 
shore again ! plunge into the grave, and 
the grave shall break up and resign you 
to your fate !' We stood out to sea; I 
paced the deck all night; I knew not 
the omens which the seamen knew. I 
saw them pale and shivering, and asked 
them what they feared, since they had 
left the enemy behind ? and forgot their 
answer, if they did answer me. As I 
stood among them, a ball of fire settled 
on the stern, where it glo\A'ed blue, and 
red, and white; and then gliding down 
the decks, disappeared without singeing 
a rope. The sailors shook their heads ; 



the surface of the sea was dark and still. 
It was now night, but we could distinctly 
hear the cries of destruction from the 
shore ; they could, they said, and many 
a distracted soul on board echoed the 
imaginary wail of father, and wife, and 
child. I heard but one voice ; it was 
that which spake to us just now. 

The wind fell ; we became quite be- 
calmed. A luminous sheet spread over the 
surface of the sea, w^hose particles looked 
solid and distinct, and sparkling like stars : 
a rope let into the waters was drawn up 
dripping with liquid fire. The passengers 
bending over the sides said they saw 
strange things in the deep ; wrecks of 
ships long lost, and shapes of others that 
were to be, and forms that lay like dead 
men at the bottom, and others that 
beckoned to them with blue swoln fingers, 
and called on them in voices like the 
roaring of waters. I looked also, and 
saw nothing but the recesses of the vault, 


JfS8 FATAL revenge; or, 

the damned flitting of its impy forms, 
and the bloody heaving breast, and the 
eternal dagger. I could look no more. 
There came a sound upon the waters, 
i£Dt like thunder, for it was more terrible, 
it seemed as if its force alone rent the 
mast and sails, for they fluttered around 
us in fragments. The vessel flew before it 
like a gossamer upon a summer breeze. 
It stopped • the ocean tossed and heaved, 
and its whole bottom came surging up, 
with tides of sand, and surf, and wreck ; 
and bodies that had lain there rooted in 
the bed of ages, things that dreamt of 
rest till doom's day, they rose whirling 
above us, mixing with the strife of upper 
air a chaos of elementary wrath and ruin ; 
then pouring down, deluged us with tides 
of solid fire, and melted stones, and boil- 
ing sand, and sulphurous rain. The 
vessel half on fire, half buried in the 
water, staved into a thousand fragments; 
on those fragments the shrieking crew 



dashing themselves; tried to reach the 
shore, which was not two miles distant. 
I was the only one who reached it alive ; 
fate was careful for none but me; the 
world was not to lose its spectacle and it 
scourge. I was thrown on a bare solitary 
point of shore, about half a mile from 
Puzzoli. The stranger was standing there ; 
lightning hissed around his head, and 
the ocean burst at his feet ; neither could 
hurt us, I fell, spent and breathless, at 
his feet, and he said to me, ** rush to 
the ocean, and it shall throw you back 
on the shore again." From that hour I 
became his ; he led me to this desert hut, 
where I have past two days without food, 
or sleep, or prayer. I drink abundantly ; 
my dreams are terrible, they last all 
day ; but reality v/ill banish them. No 
waking can be so fearful as this .fJlrc^'; 
mine eyes are open, but my soul is in a 
trance of heavy restlessness, of conscious 
suspension, in which it is undisturbed 
VOL. III. o by 

250 FATAL revenge; or, 

by human thought, to which even the 
human voice is an alarm." 

Here Schemoli interrupted their confer- 
ence. He came to prescribe the mode and 
form of the deed they no longer shrunk 
to hear named ; he unfolded his plan, ar- 
ranged every part with cold and dreadful 
precision, without either weakness or san- 
guinary vaunting ; he debated what was 
important, and he adjusted what was 
subordinate. He was no longer opposed 
or interrupted. In consequence of his 
plan, it was settled that Ippolito should 
go for that day to Naples, and that 
Annibal should depart to the seat of the 
transaction. They were to meet at night. 

They were now rising to depart, when 
Ippolito, in whose heart the yearnings of 
nature lingered, turned and looked on his 
brQtber. Annibal extended his arms, Ippo- 
lito sunk into them, and they wept on each 
other's necks, and kissed each other; their 
last fraternal, their last human tears fell 



on each other's dry, wasted cheeks. But 
they knew their task, and smote away 
the warm drops, and set their teeth, and 
drew their breath hard, and tried to belie 
God's work and look Hke villains. They 
turned for relief to Schenicli, and met 
amazement. He xvas on his knees, in 
agony of prayer ; the sweat drops stood 
on his brow ; his body was wound into 
the dust! They gazed without comment, 
for they were deprived now nearly of all 
power of wonder, or any of further fear. 

Had they not, the attitude of Sche- 
moli would have inspired even fear. To 
see Lucifer surrounded by livid light- 
nings is less shocking to the imagination 
than to see him in the garb of an angel 
of light. They separated, and found 
horses prepared to convey them to Naples 
and to the neighbourhood of Mural to. 

o 2 CHAR 



Hie qoios durus amor cnidell tabe peredit, 

Secret! celant calles, et myrtea circum 

Sylva tegit; curae non ipsa in morte relinquunt. 

Virgil, JEn. vi. 44?2. 

Not far from thence the mournful fields appear, 
So called from lovers that inhabit there. 
The souls whom that unhappy flame invades, 
In secret solitude and myrtle shades, 
Make endless moans, and, pining with desire, 
Lament too late their unextinguished fire. 


Ippolito arrived in Naples about 

dusk. To the servants at the palace, who 

hardly kiiew him, he addressed neither 

question nor order. He hastened to 

6 his 


his apartment, around which he looked 
vacantly for some time, and sadly o?i the 
bed; he then rushed into the garden, 
where Cyprian now spent almost all his 
time in a little hermitage, where he was 
entirely occupied by devotion. He saw 
Ippolito approach, and shrieking with 
the wildest voice of joy, remained riveted 
to the spot. Ippolito entered the hermit* 
age ; Cyprian flung his arms around him, 
but the next moment started from him, 
aiid gazed on hmi in silence. *' Do t/ou 
shudder at the sight of me, too?" said Ip- 
polito. *' It is his voice, Ms his voice i" 
said Cyprian ; ^* but for that I could not 
have known you." — ''You have scarce 
seen yet how much I am changed ; you 
have not seen my heart." — '' Oh 1 where 
have you been, and why have you tarried 
so long?" — '' I know not where I have 
been ; never from Naples in thought. 
But you, Cyprian, gracious heaven ! 
where have you been^ measuring your 

grave ? 

2i^4 FATAL U'tV EN GE; OR, 

grave? Is it this dim rising moon that 
deceives me? you look as pale as the 
dead, you are wasted to a shadow !" — 
*' Am I? I believe I am ; I am spent 
and worn watching for you ; I am very 
ill, my eyes are almost wept away." — 
*' And why are you in this cold vault- 
like hut?" — *^ Tis my only abode, Ippo- 
Jito; 'tis a structure I raised in memory 
of one you have perhaps forgotten, but 
who never forgot you. Here I have past 
my days and nights, thinking on you, 
and praying for her,'' — ^' And this little 
mound with the cross on it is her grave?" 
~- " It is ; and this inscription is to be 
laid on it when her remains are brought 
there." Ippolito read the lines by the 
light of the moon. 

T/ie Inscription. 

** In early youth she had sensibilities 
that were strong, and an imagination 



that M^as stronger. Her nilncl, therefore, 
fluttered in pursuit of ideal happiness, 
and ideal happiness was all she was ever 
doomed to know ; for she loved, she 
loved where to hope was madness, yet to 
be disappointed was to be lost From 
that moment lil^ was darkened by a shade, 
which the gleams of passion's wild and 
wayward joy sometimes chequered^ never 
dispelled. She sat down in lone and un- 
suspected misery, and wooed a dream for 
comfort. But there is a place where the 
wailings of sorrow cease, and even the 
pulse of passion is cold and still ; there 
the foot of mortal pilgrimage turns in 
hope ; there the world weary s})irit reaches 
and rests ; tlwre she rests at last with 
her beloved, her heart moulders near him 
for whose love it was broken, her lip 
wastes near his for which it withered 
with pining. There she rests at last with 
her beloved, and none can now divide, 
and none will now condemn her. Let 


^96 FATAL revenge; ok, 

those who would arraign her errors think 
upon her sufferings : those who caji weep 
for her sufferings will feel they were 
repaid by her end." 

*Mt is sad," said Ippolito ; ** but I 
have no time for sickly sorrow now, I 
came here only to depart, I must begone 
this hour." — *' Begone! where, where- 
fore, where is it you must begone ?" said 
Cyprian. ** I know not whither; into 
some country dark and unknown, into 
some land that is very far off; but still I 
know not yet where I go." — '' Oh ! why 
is this? Oh, my heart sickens to hear 
you!" — *' I have done a thing against 
w*hich the laws are strongly armed ; the 
world frowns upon me, fortune has no- 
thing good for me ; I must be gone to- 
night."— '' Oh, God! what is this that 
comes in clouds and darkness ? let me see 
it, let me but see it. IVhat can you have 
been tempted to that can expose you to 
danger? The laws in this country are 



not so rigid to the rich and powerful. 
What is u you have done?" — '' What is 
that which chases a man from his coun- 
try, which marks him witli horror and 
reprobation wherever he is followed and 
discovered, which — " *' Oh, I cannot 
tell ! horrid thou2:hts are crowdino^ on 
ine too fast to utter; but if it be all I 
fear, the habits of society are but too 
favourable to such offences, you need 
not fly for killing your enemy in a duel." 
— '* I did not kill him in a duel, he was 
no enemy of mine ; in cold-blooded ma- 
levolence I butchered one who had never 
offended me, with such circumstances 
of horrid fiendish crueltv, that nature 
would make the very stones ot the hall 
of justice cry out against me if I were^ 
acquitted " 

Cyprian fell to the ground, Ippo- 

lito approached to raise him. ** I am 

strong, I am well, I am, indeed." He 

struggled to say, *' This is but folly, 

o 3 nothing ; 

298 FATi\L REVENGj:; OR, - 

nothing ; let us begone this moment, I 
am strong and ready to go." — '^ You are 
strong ! Ah, Cyprian, I knew it would 
be thus, 1 knew I was a cursed wretch, 
forsaken by nature and affection. No, 
you cannot go with me, you cannot bear 
me ; those sunk eyes, those sliaking 
hands, those open and bloodless lips, 
they all speak your natural, your virtuous 
horror of me. I have done a deed that 
puts me at an immeasurable distance from 
human sympathy ; I am so far out, that 
even you who stand last and longest on 
the shore liave ceased to see me in the 

*' Oh, cruel, cruel!" wept Cyprian, 
crawling after him on his knees. *' Oh ! 
if.'you could but knozv, and when you 
do know, as shortly you must — / not 
follow? / not bear you? Shew me the 
hand that did the murder and I will kiss 
it, if you will not drive me away ; I will 
follow you in quiet misery, I will smile 



on you as in our days of innocence, and 
only weep when you are at rest. I mm II 
M'ander with you, beg with you, famish 
v/ith you." — '' You draw ev^ery picture 
of misery ; 3'ou will wander, you will 
famish with me ! Am I so very lost? is 
there no one bright speck or atom in fu- 
turity for me? must we be thus wretch- 
ed?" — ^' Oh, no, no!" said Cyprian 
eagerly, ^' there is a hope for penitence ; 
there are gracious and humble joys un- 
known to the proud that have never 
erred. Let us go hence to decent indi- 
gence and retirement, to some place re- 
mote from the din of folly, that is never 
necessary to happiness, and always un- 
favourable to virtue. I will go with you 
to the vallies of Switzerland or the moun- 
tains of Spain. Many a melancholy plea- 
sure dawns upon me in our hermit haunt 
of penitence. Conference when you are 
cheerful, the sound of ny harp when 
you are pensive^ the consciousness of 
7 safety 

300 FATAL revenge; "OR, 

safety when disposed to repine, and the 
remembrance of error when tempted to 
passion : these will be with us in our val- 
ley of sorrow, and who that has these 
can be dissatisfied?" — ** Is it then pos- 
sible for a murderer to know peace ?"— 
*' I will pray for your peace," said Cy- 
prian tremblingl}^ ** But is it possible 
that a murderer can have peace?" said 
Ippolito vehemently. *' All things are 
possible with him whom we have to 
do with," answered Cyprian fervently. 
** May I, indeed, be forgiven?" — ''If 
the penance to which I here devote every 
hour of my remaining life can procure 
you peace or pardon, you shall," said 
Cyprian, falling on his knees and kiss- 
ing the crucifix that was on the tomb. 
** Keep your vow," said Ippolito in a 
fearful tone. *' What is it you mean?" 
— ** You have eased my soul of its bur- 
den, you have taught me there is pardon 
for a iiiurderer. The deed is not i/et 
done; but if it can be pardoned, why 



should it be delayed?" — '* Oh! wliat 
words are those? Oh, plunge not your 
soul and mine in wilful, unresisted ruin I 
There can be no pardon for premeditated 
guilt; there is no mercy for the presump- 
tuous offender who oifends in the confi- 
dence of forgiveness, and converts the 
long suffering of heaven into the minister 
of sin.*' 

IppoUto "was gone. He had spoken 
peace to his conscience by the wild so- 
phistry of despair, and drawn from the 
abused lips of purity an unintentional 
encouragement to guilt, and pacified by 
this wretched device, he rushed from the 

Of him whom he left behind, no 
more was heard, Cyprian was beheld 
no more. Affection had no more to con- 
tend with, nor had sorrow any further 
power of suffering. His existence was 
rendered vain by the frustration of the 
purpose to which it had been devoted, 
and for which alone it had been sup- 
ported j 

302 FATAL revenge; or, 

ported ; and he felt how dreadftd it was 
to hope no morC; to have in life no 
further worth or use, aggravated by the 
recollection that his had been voluntary- 
choice : his, therefore, was merited suf- 

Annibal was conducted by Schemoli 
to the neighbourhood of Muralto ; he 
was led into a hut and supplied with 
refreshments, and pacified with the pro- 
mise that he should be disturbed by no 
intruders. To all this he listened in si- 
lence, and Schemoli was preparing to 
leave him — '' Whither are you going?" 
said Annibal. *' I am now going to the 
castle, I shall return at night and bring 
your brother with me ; 1 will then lead 
you both to the vejy apartriient. " — '* And 
am 1 to remain alone till night?" — 
*' You must." — '' Impossible 1 I dare not 
trust myself; do not you trust me. I 
shall be mad, incapable ©f doing the 



work that is fastened on me ; incapable 
of any thing, even of mischief What ! 
to be six hours alone, with such thoughts 
as mine ! you are mad to propose it." 

Schemoli appeared disconcerted ; at 
length he said, '' If I bri ng you to the cas- 
tle, you must consent to remain alone and 
silent till the hour arrives." — '^ Yes, I 
can remain alone and silent in the castle, 
for the sounds of life will be around me; 
but lead me not to any apartment I have 
before been accustomed to ; let me see 
no place I have inhabited while my heart 
>\as light and innocent." 

Schemoli led him to the castle unob- 
served ; such was its extent, and so 
many parts were ruinous and uninhabit- 
able, that this, though it v/as only twi- 
light, was no matter of difficulty. The 
apartment to which he w^as conducted 
he had never seen before, nor did he 
examine it now ; he paced up and down, 
listening for the sound of steps or voices, 



of which lie heard but few and distant. 
It was not impossible, that had he de- 
voted even this interval to recollection, 
he might have recalled his direful reso- 
lution ; but it is the curse of a desperate 
state of mind to consider the exclusion 
of reflexion as a species of duty, and his 
resolution, therefore, continued unaltered 
because unexamined. 
I Night approached ; through a pannel in 
the door he saw light twinkling; he be- 
lieved it was Schemoli approaching, and 
determined to meet him at the door, not 
to be called and chidden to his task. He 
therefore hastened to the door, without 
perceiving it was not the door by which 
he had entered. It gave wa}^ and through 
it he saw a suite of apartments, in the last 
of which lights were burning. With an 
impulse for which he did not seek to 
account, he entered them ; all was still 
and deserted. He reached the last, and 
paused to examine the strange diversity 



of objects it contained. It was furnished 
even with modern elegance, but repelled 
approach by an oppressive smell of medi- 
cines. Silver branches sparkled on a table 
of marble, on which stood several phials; 
beside it was extended on a sopha a lady 
apparently asleep. Annibal advanced, 
and beheld Erminia, her very self, as he 
first beheld her in the picture of the secret 
apartments. The sylvan robe of green 
velvet, overspread with her long loose 
tresses, and clasped with diamonds, the 
veil of gold gauze falling over her face 
reached the ground. Her sleep was un- 
easy, she moaned often, and at length 
throwing aside her veil with a quick mo- 
tion, which yet did not wake her, she 
discovered the face o^ lldefonsa ! 

Her face presented the same strange 
and frightful contrast as the furniture of 
her apartment; the deep fixed colour that 
burned on her cheek was evidently arti- 
ficial, while her wan and purple iips 


306 FATAL revenge; or, 

seemed withering in the parched breath 
they exhaled ; her busom, decked with 
pearl and shaded with ringlets, was dis- 
played with a meretricious excess, yet 
the cold drops that trembled on her fore- 
head seemed forced out by the approaches 
of dissolution. All power of exclamation 
"Nvas denied to Annibal. He felt nothing 
but wonder, saw nothing but witchery ; 
the presence of her he believed lost, her 
solitary pomp, the mixture of emblems 
of death and magnificence that surround- 
ed her, had she slumbered till the day 
of judgment he could only have gazed 
on her. But after a few inarticulate 
murmurs of painful sleep, she started, 
and awoke and beheld him. Even then 
he could not speak ; he knelt beside her, 
he grasped her hands, he gazed earnestly 
on her face. *' I could not die till I saw 
you, my beloved, " said Ildefonsa. ' ' Die ! " 
repeated Annibal in a voice which cannot 
be described. Ildefonsa pointed to one 



of the phials, and sunk back on the sofa, 
Annibal reached it to her silently ; her 
face was convulsed, she swallowed it, and 
then another. ** Will this," said she, 
*' give me breath to tell you how I have 
been brought here, and what I have suf- 
fered ?" Again her speech was impeded. 
*' Oh, no, I cannot ! all that remains of 
life is scarce enough to tell how I have 
loved — how, dying, I love you still! We 
were not doomed to be happy here, this 
earth has no good things for us ; the 
storm has been with us, but its roar 
comes far and faintly now, and where I 
am hastening it shall not be heard any 
more for ever. Oh, my love ! my gentle 
love ! distract not my dying hour by this 
violence ! rend rot your hair, nor gnash 
your teeth thus ! I was calm till you 
came ; it is an hour in which I had rather 
think of you than behold you." 

Again she was convulsed, and sunk 
backward. Annibal supported her with 



that firmness of silent and terrible strengtliy 
which seems to the sufferer himself like 
the effect of a spell, and which he dare 
not breathe lest he dissolve. During the 
remainder of the night she was sometimes 
convulsed, sometimes quiet, but never 
articulate or lucid ; in calm desperate 
agony he had to watch the slow expi- 
ration of sense, the long, severe strife 
©f nature in extremity, grasping at re- 
lief fitfully, and again relaxing its 
grasp. He had to behold her die, with- 
out relief and without discovery of her 
murderer ! 

In her struggles he thought at times 
he heard her name his father. He con^ 
tinued to gaze on the corse till the clock 
struck twelve; the sound smote on his 
soul, he caught up the taper and rushed 
from the apartment: in his own he found 
Schemoli and Ippolito. The brothers 
communicated not, by word, by groan, 
by look. '^ It is the hour," said Sche- 
moli ;. 


nioli ; '* all is still; I will dismiss 
the attendants." He departed; he was 
absent for an hour, during which not 
a word was uttered by his victims. 
They could not have heard each other ; 
there was a storm, a storm which rock- 
ed the castle, and which they did not 

Schemoli returned; they did not ^ee 
-his altered expression till Iiis motions 
compelled their notice. He dashed the 
lamp from his hand, he fell at their feet, 
he wound himself round their knees, 
pushed hack their drawn swords, and 
then bared his own breast to them. In- 
sensible to every thing but the terrible 
purpose of the hour, they scarce saw him 
at their feet. Still unable to speak, he 
gasped, he \vrithed, he howled, he point- 
ed to the apartment to which he was 
about to conduct them, till believing they 
were abused by the mows and grimaces 
of a fiend, they broke from, and left him 


310 FATAL revenge; or, 

extended on the floor. His pointing hand 
instructed them too well, and his shadow 
seemed to flit before tliem to the very 
door of the apartment. 

# * 



CHAP. xxri. 

Ere the bat hath flown 

His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons ^ 
The shard-born beetle with his drowsy hum 
Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done 
A deed of dreadful note. 

Shakespeare's " Macbeth." 

My senses blaze — my last, I know, is come ; 
My last of hours. 'Tis wond'rous horrid ! now — 

Les's Mithridates. 

On that night it was observed by the 
attendants that the Count was remark- 
ably agitated. His confessor had been 
twice summoned to him. On his quit- 

312 FATAL Revenge; or, 

ting him for the last time, he desired 
the Countess to attend him, and when 
she came, the attendant, as usual, quit- 
ted the apartment. They were two liours 
in conference. His spirits were usually 
calmed by the stern energy of his wife, 
and by the influence she had acquired 
over him from the superior strength of 
her character ; but on this night her in- 
fluence failed, and after two hours vainly 
spent in the sophistry of guilt and pallia- 
tions of misery, he remained gloomy and 
agitated. ** Why do you walk up and 
down in the dark corners of the room, 
listening to the wind and looking on 
your shadow?" said the Countess. ** Sit 
down by this ruddy fire, I have trimmed 
the tapers, and every thing is bright and 
cheerful." — '* Are they, indeed?" said 
the Count. ** They are; come, sit on 
this seat beside me, and be calm." — 
*^ No, no; when I am in the darkest 
corners of the room / knozo tJie woi^st, 

I can 


I can look upon no part of the chamber 
that is not brighter than that I am in ; 
but when I sit in the circle of the h'ght, 
I dare not look beyond it; the shades 
are all in terrible motion beyond the very 
edge of the taper!" — 'MVhy will you 
bend your mind to these sickly fancies?'* 
— *' They bend my mind to them.'' — 
** What is it that oppresses you to- 
night?" — " That which oppresses me 
every night." — *^ There is something un- 
usual in your agitation to-night ; your 
looks, your very language are altered." — 
** Are they, indeed ? in truth, are they ? 
Nay, 'tis no wonder; man's ordinary 
frame would sink under one hundredth 
part of what I daily or nightl}^ undergo; 
yet my strength is unimpaired. Not a 
hair of my head is changed. My mind 
seems to have absorbed all power of suf- 
fering into itself, and its faculty of suf- 
fering, we are told, is immortal. I have 
much to harass and disturb me of pre* 
VOL. III. p sent 

S14! FATAL revenge; oh, 

sent and imminent fear. How do I know 
what danger thsit Jugitive may be prepar- 
ing for me in the remotest region of 
]N:aly ? or his brother, who has hurried 
from Naples, no one knows whither?" — 
'* Do not suffer yourself to be dejected, 
the confessor will discover them be sure, 
and them we will have nothing further 
to fear." 

*' Have I not perpetually before me a 
remembrancer, a living remembrancer, 
who combines the imagery of fancy and 
reality, who recals at once the living 
and the dead. The roof of my castle 
seems to shake over me while she is be- 
neath it." 

^' And was it not your own fond fan- 
tasy to deck her up in that array ? Like 
a child you run from a mask you have 
yourself painted; but whether real or 
fantastic, your fears may cease to-night: 
,she has sunk into a sleep from which she 
5vill probably wake no more." — ** What 



have you done?" — ''That which must 
be clone, and which therefore they who 
do soonest do best. Would you be 
ruined by the babbling waywardness, the 
whining love of a girl?" — '* I could not 
have destroyed her." — *' Weak and in- 
consistent ! what would you have? you 
tremble in danger and you pine in secu- 
rity. What would you have?" — ''Ask 
me not what I would have, 1 would 
have what no power can do for me ; I 
would have time turned backward, and 
deeds undone; I would have impossibi- 
lities; I would have peace, and one 
night of unbrok'^n sleep!" — "That is 
Impossible." — " I do not want to be told 
50. Secure ! my security is like the for- 
tress of a giant, moated round with 
blood ; it is like the tower of the Persian 
tyrant, a pile of human skulls. I am 
become a wonder to myself. I could not 
(once) have borne to think what I now 
must bear to be. In the first stage of 
p 2 my 

510 FATAL revknge; Olt, 

my progress, I saw but a stngle act ne- 
cessary to success. I revolted from its 
first view; but habitual contemplation, 
and, above all, the facility of repenting, 
one solitary act of guilt bribed me to its 
perpetration. Had it been joined in the 
remotest bearing with another crime ; 
had but another link of the dark chain 
teen shadowed in my mind's view, I had 
never been guilty. But it is the policy 
of Satan. I had scarce dipped in blood 
when I found I must swim in it. Ano- 
ther act but led to another; to retain 
what I had acquired demanded more of 
the means that acquired it. I found 
myself tottering on a point which I 
deemed the central hold of success ; I 
tried to rise, and found myself tottering 
still. I look back now on a length of 
crimes that sear the sight, I look round 
and feel I totter still. I look upward, 
and see the point of safety remoter than 
ever, and that 1 have been lost, and 



trebly lost for nothing ! Where will this 
end ?" — *' In safety and eminence at 
last," said his dauntless wife; *^ in a 
height from which we shall look down 
on envy aud danger alike, and fee! no 
sacrifice too great to obtain." — ^* Safety 1" 
said Montorio growing pale, ** how can 
you talk of safety and hear the yelling 
of the blast ? Hark, how it bursts, wild 
and horrible ! the casements will give 
way ; and now it sinks again, and wails 
away so faint and distant. Oh, that 
dolorous, sobbing', spent sound ! could 
it be the wind, Zenobia? What if it 
were?" — *' For shame! will you run 
mad listenina* to the wind ^ will vou 
conjure the innocent elements into phan- 
toms of fear? Listen, it is gone already ; 
it whistles over the cottages beneath 
your castle, and does not wake a sleeper 
there; it is fallen now, the night will be 
calm." — ** Do you think so, good wife ; 
do you indeed think so? I pray you 


318 FATAL revi:nge ; OR, 

look out at the casement, and tell mc 
the shape and waftage of the clouds, 
and whether the wrack flies swift, and 
where the winds are chasing it." — ^' Look 
abroad yourself, you are near the case- 
ment, and the flitting clouds will amuse 
you." — *' Amuse me ! Oh, if you knew 
what forms are riding in the darkness 
when / venture to look out, aye, flitting 
across the casement with palpable motion, 
and when I start, beckoning from the 
ridgy clouds, but not like //ze;?/, gliding 
away : if you saw this T' — '^ Are you the 
slave of such fantastic folly ? I would 
sooner tear mine eyes out than let them 
abuse my reason thus." — ** If my eyes 
were torn out I should see them still." — 
** Oh ! these are the dreams of fearful soli- 
tude; the very whispers of the place and 
season. I should run mad with apprehen- 
sion if I shut myself up in a lone tower, 
and listened to the wailings of the wind." 
.— ^' Aye, 'tis the wind I shrink from. 



Whenever the storm howls round my cas- 
tie I think of the night when — hark, 
hark, how loud it is now ! Just such 
was the sound, and such was the sea- 
son — " *' You mistake, it was at the 
close of autumn." — " I do not mistake; 
it is spring, and summer, and winter, and 
autumn with me ; I hear it in every wind 
that blovrs." 

*' Let us go then to Naples, I know 
not why we came to this house of hor- 
rors ; let us go to Naples. I will go with 
you, and we will have feasting and jol- 
lity. In the tumult of festivity you will 
forget these thoughts that ride your fancy 
like the hags of vision ; you shall go 
forth, and enjoy your state like a mag- 
nificent noble, and all shall be well." — 
** No, I cannot, it besets me there; 
and how can I trust myself amid a crowd, 
who dread to be discovered to my own 
lacqueys? My life is wasted in watch- 
ing a secret. When I was last in Naples 


320 FATAL revexge; or, 

they dragged me to some assembly. I 
saw it there; aye, you may gaze, but I 
saw it plainly as I see you now. As I 
crossed the portico it stood opposed to 
me for a full minute, and looked on me : 
looked ! no, no, it had no eyes ; but 
still it seemed as if it saw me, and I saw 
it.''—'' Saw what?"-— ^' Do you not 
know?" — '' No, in truth, you have so 
many visions and fantasies.'' — ** Why, 
then, not to avoid its sight again could 
I utter the name/' 

He sat down sullenly, and remain- 
ed silent for some time, then starting 
np again listened to the wind, '' Did 
you not tell me," said he reproach- 
fully, '* that the storm had ceased?" — 
'^ I am not to blame if the elements will 
not be at peace." — *' And who is to 
blame," said he, striding up and down 
gloomily, ^' that I am trembling here 
with every change of them ? It is des- 
tiny's, not mine. If I w^re a conqueror, 
a ravager of the earth now, I should lie 



down in peace ; if I were one who had 
slept after the carnage of thousands, 
whose bare word had swept off more in 
one day than all the petty villains of 
earth "would stab darkling in their lives ; 
if I were one who had flung infants and 
pregnant mothers in the fire, and rested 
every night lapt in the colours of victory, 
and stunned by the thunder of my 
drums ; if it were thus, I would be at 
peace, I would be called a hero by the 
^ world, and lie down at last lulled by the 
acclamations of mankind. Oh, if it were 
thus ! Yes, it is this cursed domestic 
sensibility of guilt that makes cowards 
of us; the deed that makes the hero 
damns the man. I am lost, because I 
am pent up in the walls of a castle, and 
mark myself with the sign of the cross ; 
the magic chain of evil is the fear." — ** I 
have never seen you so wrought by fear 
and dismal thought as this night." — 
'* 'Tis true; this night has a presage 
p 3 with 

322 FATAL revenge; or, 

with it, I cannot, cannot -'' *' Has 

the confessor been with you?" — **Twice.'* 
*^ And has he given you no comfort, as 
he is wont to do?" — '^ Aye, marvellous 
comfort, solitary penance for an hour ; 
and so good night, Zenobia. Zenobia, 
do you pray at night?" — *^ I do."-— 
''Indeed! and fervently, truly?" — ** Aye; 
but I do not trust to prayer alone." — 
** What do you mean ?" — *' Look here/'* 
said the Countess, and withdrawing her 
vest shewed beneath an iron band that 
encircled her M^aist, and was closed un- 
der her breast by a spring whose point 
entered it. '* Who devised this most 
horrible penance ?" said her husband. 
** They who could execute it could alone 
devise it." — ** The infliction is most 
sharp and agonizing, but the conse- 
quences are worse. Remove that dread- 
ful zone, Zenobia ; the corrosion of the 
iron — " *^ Will produce a cancer, I 
know it,'^ — '^^ And the consequence must 



then be — " *^ A terrible operation; I 
have sustained it aheady. Eight months 
I wore it on the other side, it terminated 
as you suggest. I submitted to the ope- 
ration without discovery and without a 
groan, and when it was over I removed' 
the sharp point to the other side." 

Montorio smote his hands together, 
'' What have we become ? what have we 
made ourselves?-' — ^'Thatwhich I would 
bear this, and tenfold this to be, great 
and powerful, one of the eminent on the 
earth. Let any curse be mine but that 
of high-born, high -though ted beggary ; 
the habits of a noble^ the spirit of a sove-^ 
reign, and the fortune of a mendicant. 
On my earliest view of life I saw but one 
thing that it was good to be ; the price 
was high, and the conditions difficult ; 
but since it is accomplished, I will not 
affront my pride by thinking I gave for 
it too much. I am the possessor of rank 
and magnificence ; all that is seea of m® 

is • 

3£4 FATAL revenge; ok, 

is great and splendid. Let the world be 
deceived and T must be happy ; yes, I 
am happy." — ** And Avill the other world 
also be deceived?" — *' No ; but it will 
be pacified, if our priests tell us true. 
They say St. Peter's keys are of gold, I 
have one of iron that cannot fail. If 
penance can avail, what can be so pow- 
erful as that I voluntarily do?" — '* 1 
know of but one mode more severe." — 
'' More severe ! what is it?" — *< That I 
must undergo to-night." — *'What! is it 
the scourge, or iron?" — '* No." — ** Da 
you rend your flesh with sackcloth?" — 
" No. "— ^ * What can it be ?"— * * An hour 
of solitude," answered Montorio, turn- 
ing on her with the visage of a fiend^ 
in woe. 

The Countess was retiring. *' Hold," 
said he, * ' are you going, already going ? 
am I alone? does he make me under- 
go this that I may think less of my 
final mansion ? I cannot bear it, no, I 
cannot be alone, Zenobia ; send the con- 


fessor to me, I will confess to him ; that 
expedient we adopted to pacify heaven, 
and avert the cause from our house. I 
have not confessed that yet, I have never 
told it ; perhaps it may move him to 
mitigate my penance." — ** Perhaps it 
may, he shall attend you." 
^ She retired, and the confessor was 
again summoned. Their conference was 
long, and marked with singular emo- 
tions. In the progress of it, the Count 
avowed that secret with which he had 
fed an inward, doubtful hope of pal- 
liation for many years. The monk was 
sitting on the chair when (in the 
posture of the confessor) he received 
it ; he started, as if his soul was smote 
within him. In a voice, whose tones 
were convulsed with unknown emotions, 
whose tones were audible from the bare 
strength of their meaning, almost with- 
out aid of articulation, he demanded a 
repetition of the confession. His peni- 
tent, overpowered he knew not how, 


326 FATAL revekge; or, 

hesitated. The confessor repeated hisr 
demand in a voice not human ; the Count 
again faultered it out with mechanical 
fear. The confessor paused, as if to as- 
sure himself of what he heard ; the seat 
shook under him. The Count looked up 
in his face with amaze, his cowl had 
fallen over it, and in his agitation it re- 
mained untouched ; and his figure thus 
dark, silent, and shaking with unuttered 
thoughts, was more like the phantom of 
a terrible dream than the living and ac- 
tual form of man. At length, spurning 
aside his chair, he rose and was rushing 
from the apartment. '* Father," called 
the Count, ** you have not given me 
absolution."—-** Nor ever will," yelled 
the monk, '* nor ever shall myself seek 
or obtain it." lie was gone. 

His penitent, long accustomed to starts 
of passion resembling insanity in th€ con- 
fessor, believed that he was only overcome 
hy the discovery of a new link in that 



chain of crimes which had for four years 
been gradually unfolded to his view, with- 
out a prospect of their dark termination. 
Believing, therefore, that the event of 
this conference would scarce have ended 
in the mitigation of his penance, he pre- 
pared to undergo it, mentally resolving, 
however, that if after the experience of 
some moments he found solitude what he 
feared, he M^ould summon his attendants 
to the antichamber, and at least hear 
their steps, and see their lights through 
the crevices of the door while he per- 
formed his task. He had scarce time to 
explore the terrors of solitude. 

The issue of those dark hauntings by 
which the brothers had been besetsolong, 
may already be conjectured. The secret 
crime, so often suggested to them by vi- 
sionary temptation, they now proceeded, 
under the influence of visionary terror, to 
perpetrate. The secret door through which 
the monk had rushed to deprecate it, in 


328 FATAL hevenge; or, 

vain, was still open ; they advanced 
through the passage with feelings, which 
he who knows human feelings will hardly 
inquire or willingly hear. They entered 
the apartment of their victim ; he was 
on his knees, in that agony of prayer 
which hears no sound but its own mur- 
murs. They approached unseen ; they 
dared not look at each other; but so 
intense and single was the impulse, that 
at the same moment their swords met in 
their father's body ! He expired without' 

a groan. 

The noise of the bodj' falling on the 
ground alarmed the attendants, whose 
habitual vigilance was easily aroused. 
They rushed in; there was no outcry 
of inquiry or conjecture, for the parri- 
cides stood, frozen and senseless, still 
grasping their red dripping weapons. The 
body was raised and examined, but when 
they discovered it was stone dead, their 
faculties were restored, a wild burst of 
inarticulate horror rung through the 
4 apartment, 


apartment, and every one applied him- 
self to a different purpose with the preci- 
pitation of sudden, momentous discovery. 
The murderers were secured, unresistino: 
and unconscious ; every tower in the 
castle blazed with lights, and resounded 
with hurrying feet ; the alarum bell rung 
out, quick, and loud, and terrible ; the 
sound was heard at Naples the live-long 
night, wafted by the bowlings of the 
storm. The family, whose inquiries were 
only answered by ghastly silence, rushed 
to the Count's apartment. The daughters 
threw themselves in agony upon the 
body, the sons demanded the means and 
circumstances of the murder. The Coun- 
tess stood beside the couch to which the 
corse had been removed, and covered 
her face with her robe. 

At this moment of distracted questions 
and incoherent answers, a number of the 
officials of justice arriving from Naples, 
entered the castle, and without disclosing 



the cause of their appearance, required 
that the criminals should be del-ivered into 
their custody. This was performed. The 
' family had often tamed, in the midst of 
their lamentations, with looks of appeal- 
ing agony to the brothers ; but their 
voices were drowned in a fresh burst of 
woe, and they could not ask what pro- 
bably had been asked in vain. The at- 
tendants, however, whose grief began to 
yield to wonder, interrogated the crimi- 
nals repeatedly, on the motive and ob^ 
ject of the dreadful" deed they had done. 
They obtained no answer; the uur 
happy young men were once heard to 
ask for a little water, but from their fixed 
and blood-shot eyes,, their staring hairs, 
and mute ghastliness, it was rightly con- 
jectured that of w^hat was passing around 
them they heard or noticed nothing. 

In about an hour something like order 
was restored, and the criminals, of whose 
guilt so obvious there was scarce an 



official inquiry, were about to be removed,, 
when the confessor rushed into the room. 
The attendants, who had beheld with 
calmness the terrible spectacle of a vio- 
lent death, faultered and shrunk at the 
sight of him : there was nothing human 
to which he might be compared, nor 
any thing beyond or below it that could 
be imagined like him. He flew with the 
speed of a demon to mischief; he paused 
as if he saw the desolation of the world. 
He gazed for a moment around him, and 
then approaching the officers, demanded 
that he should be secured by them as the 
real agent of the crime of which they 
were appointed to take cognizance. The 
supernatural wildness of his aspect, con- 
trasted with the calmness of his address, 
stupified the officers. They listened to be 
assured that the sounds they heard pro- 
ceeded from the object before them. He 
repeated them in a voice that chilled 
them ; but while tremblingly they secured 



him, they ahnost expected to see the 
fetters with v/hich they bound him dis- 
appear, or his whole form dissolve into 
vacancy. His demand, however, was 
incontrovertible ; no one had accused, 
no one even had mentioned him; his sur- 
render was voknitary, and no one in- 
quired its reason. 

The family now separated with the 
dumb solemnity that attends events too 
great for complaint, A few attendants 
renewing the half extinguished lights, 
prepared to Avatch by the body of 
their Lord, over which was extended 
a black pall ; and the carriages in 
which the officials had travelled, conveyed 
them and their prisoners away about day- 

The crime of the night, in all its cir- 
cumstances, was so new and horrible, 
that even the ministers of justice, grown 
old in the history of human depravity, 
felt amazed and outraged by the event. 
Their attention was fixed strongly on the 



prisoners, as hunters would gaze on the 
motions of a monster, such as their search 
had never before discov^ered. The bro- 
thers were totally silent, and on their 
arrival at Naples, were found to be 
plunged in a sleep so deep and heavy, 
that they were lifted out of the carriage 
by the attendants (who shuddered to 
touch them) without awaking. Schemoli 
kept his head enveloped in his cowl, 
through which his heart-drawn groans 
were every moment audible. On alight- 
ing from the carriage his face was invo- 
luntarily uncovered, and his eyes for a 
moment fell on the young men ; and for 
that moment the expression of his visage 
was such, that the attendants scarce 
thought themselves safe till it was con- 
cealed again. In consideration of their 
rank they were allotted apartments in the 
castle of St. Elmo, where Schemoli im- 
mediately demanded implements for writ- 
ing, a small portion of bread and water, 



and undisturbed solitude for thirty-six 

To this the officials, after examining 
the apartment, and removing from it 
every implement of mischief, consented. 
He also demanded that no judicial steps 
should be taken against the prisoners, 
till a document which he was preparing 
was ready to be submitted to the prin- 
cipal justiciary of Naples. With regard 
to this, he was informed that of a case 
so mysterious and extraordinary, no cog- 
nizance would probably be taken till a 
much more remote period, as the process 
of inquiry and examination which would 
be instituted could not be too minute or 
deliberate. In consequence, jiowever, 
of the intimations of the prisoner Sche- 
moli, on the third night after his arrival 
at the castle of St. Elmo the grand jus- 
ticiaries of Naples, with some of its most 
distinguished public characters, at mid- 
6 night 


night assembled in a subterranean apart- 
ment of the castle, A double guard was 
planted on every avenue of the building, 
and the secretary advancing to the foot 
of a table which was covered with black, 
while an assistant on each side held a 
torch, produced and read before the as- 
sembly a manuscript given him a few 
hours before by the monk Schemoli, 
which he had written in his prison. 


$S6 FATAL revenge; OR, 


*^ Let those who blame the extrava- 
gance of my passions, think I was a 
lover; let those who mock ray abused 
credulity, reflect I was a jealous lover; 
let those who execrate the horrors of my 
revenge, remember I was an Italian. 

'* I am Orazio, Count of Montorio, 
so long believed dead, and who rises from 
imaginary death only to bewail that it is 
not real. I am Orazio, Count of Monto- 
rio ; this is no device of imposture; I have 
living witnesses and incontestible proofs, 
i Jiave witnesses that can prove my iden- 


thv, and a tale that 7nust — I desire not 
to anticipate my narrative by a display of 
my character, it will be sufficiently un- 
folded by its progress, nor would I con- 
ceal its most dark and inward foldings 
from the eye. I have other purpose than 
my own vindication in this narrative. 

** Of a large family, my brother, the 
late Count, and I, alone arrived at the 
age of manhood. 

^* My heart had originally a capacity 
of affection beyond most human hearts. 
I loved him with a love * passing that of 
women;' I was alternately to him a father 
and a child, an almoner and a monitor. 
My purse he might have exhausted, my 
name he might have disgraced ; but my 
keart . 

** He was wxak and vicious ; I knew 
it well. It was the curse of my charac- 
ter to love, not for the perception or 
sake of w^orth in the object, but to gratify 
the wild exuberance of my own feelings. 

VOL. Jii. Q My 

S3S FATAL revenge; or, 

My heart was like a mine, that poured 
out its irrepressible pregnancy of wealth 
at the feet of surronuding peasants, which 
enriched the worthless and exalted the 
base, whose unhappy fertility was with- 
out discrimination and without grati- 

'* I had procured my brother a mili- 
tary commission of high rank, which his 
irregularities soon compelled him to re- 
sign : still I defended and upheld him, 
and gave to his retreat an air of angry 
dignity instead of disgrace. I was re- 
volving some other plan for his advance- 
ment, and in order to pursue it had re- 
moved to Naples, where I saw her whose 
name I cannot, on the verge of death, 
write with a firm hand, Erminia di 
Amaldi. I loved, as few men had ever 
loved, without knowledge of the passion, 
without knowledge of the sex. Of love 
or of marriage I had never even thought 
before; and now, as usual, my first 



thought was resolution. I addressed her 
without an}' gentleness of approach, any 
arts of insinuation. I persecuted her 
without any gradation of advance, any 
intervals of deliheration. If she had ev^en 
loved me, I left her no time for its avowal, 
almost for its consciousness. I poured 
out my passion before her with a violence 
that affrighted her, and when she was 
terrified into silence, I mistook it for 
assent. Her gentle reluctance, her timid 
distress, her silent dismay, nay, her tears 
and anguish, I heeded as much as the 
hunter pursuing his prey would heed the 
lily that he crushes in his speed. 

** My impetuosity, my rank, my 
wealth, my munificence bore down all 
obstruction. I led, I dragged Erminia to 
the altar, where amid the solemnity, she 
fainted in my arms. After some time 
I brought her to my castle, surrounded 
her with every thing that woman could 
desire, or man procure, and courted her 

Q, 2 to 

540 FATAL kevenge; or, 

to be happy M'ith magnificence and af- 

*' At this period my brother married, 
married without my consent, without 
my knowledge, a woman Mhose family 
had been the long-tried and inveterate 
cnemv of mine : married without the 
means of procuring his wife another 
meal, except from the compassion of 
that family, by whom before I would 
be assisted, I would famish a thousand 
times. With sore constraint I assumed 
severity, and refused for some time to 
see or admit him. 

'* During this periodi found other em- 
ployment than thinking of lilm, I dis- 
covered, or imagined I had discovered, 
my wife did not love m,e. I feel now 
that I must have thought the same of 
any other woman. I had imagined that 
passion was a something which human 
performance could never realize. With 
the purity of a matron, and the delicacy 



oF a woman, I yet expected the blan- 
dishments of a harlot, and the ardours of 
a man. 

*' To be what I demanded would pro- 
bably have disgusted me, to be less,, 
distracted me ; I loved too well to be, 
happy. Yet Erminia might have had 
more compassion, or miglit have dis» 
sembled more. Hours have I knelt at 
her feet, and have only been suffered to 
rise with a si2:h. Hours have I held 
her to my heart, and felt only her cold 
tears trickling on my bosom. Hours 
have I supplicated for a smile, and been 
dismissed with one whose gleam played 
over her pale face, like moonshine upon a 
plain of snow, cold and uncherishiug. 
While she was pregnant, I tried to believe 
that indisposition might suspend her 
fondness, and when she became a mother, 
that her children might divide it. With 
the vigilance of jealousy, which dreads 
itself, though in her presence I heaped 


sis FATAL revenge; OR, 

her with tender reproach and expostu- 
lation, yet when absent, I studied, I in- 
vented devices to prevent my belief warp- 
ing that way, while I tried to convince 
her* what I dared not to think myself. 
Yes; Erminia might liave had more 
.compassion, or might have dissembled 

During this interval, having made 
.my brother for some time experience 
rthe privation of his customary indul- 
gences, 1 procured for him a distinguish- 
j<ed situation, of which he concealed 
from me that he had anticipated the 
^profits by debt, even before he had ex- 
pected the possession of it. I had long 
been personally reconciled to him, and in 
the third year of my marriage he came to 
pass some time at the Castle of Muralto. 

(Here I dropt my pen, and my 
taper seemed to go out — it must be re- 
sumed — Erminia ! Erminia ! Are these 
tears? Often have I poured out blood 



to thy memory, never till this hour a 
tear ! ) 

** My brother easily discovered the state 
of my mind ; a fool might have dis- 
covered it ; concealment never was one 
of my habits. My mind was as open 
as the ocean, and as soon agitated by 
storms. I know not how his approaches 
were first made, with what prison his 
first invisible arrow was tinged, or rather 
with what depth of poison, for from the 
first it was the green, livid venom of jea- 
lousy he infused, from that shade which 
scarce produces an infected spot in the 
mind's eye, to that deep dye which 
darkens the sun, and overshadows the 
soul with glooms unlit and impassable. 
I think we were sitting one day after 
Erminia had quitted us; I observed her 
dejection in terms as cold as I could, 
merely to find if others thought of it as 
I did. * When dejection,' said he, 
' arises from a local caus^, it is easily 



removed.' — * Triie,' said I, witliorit 
applying the reinark. * There was a 
report,' he continued, ' that Alnioni'^i 
regiment is ordered to embark for Spairr, 
perhaps that occasions her dejection.' — 
* I never heard she had any relations 
in Ahnoni's regiment.' — ' I never heard 
she had.' — ^ Why then should its re- 
moval effect her?' — * What ! have you 

never heard of ?' — * What is it you 

mean ?' — * Nothmg, nothing in the 
world; a mistake, it must be all a mis- 
take ; let us send for the children ; they 
are remarkably like you.' — ' I think 
the elder is like me.' — * They are both 
like you/ said he vehemently, * by my 
soul they are, let people talk as they 

"** The children came ; I walked about, 
busied in a strife of thought ; he ob« 
served it. * Why do you not speak to 
the children,' said he. * I had rather 
at this moment speak with you.' He 



came to the window against wlil^ I 
leaned my back that he might not ob- 
serve the change: I felt my features un- 
dergoing. * Why should the Countess 
be disconcerted at the removal of the 
regiment of that— I know not his name?' 

— 'I, I, do not know.'—' You ^a 
know.' — ^ I only know what every one 
knows ; why should / be interrogated?' 

— * What every one knows?' — * Yes ; 
every one knows that the Chevalier Ver- 
doni has a company in that regiment' — ■ 

* And of what consequence is that to 
me, to the Countess I mean?' — ' What! 
have you never heard of Verdoni?' — 

* Never.' — * That is strange ; never 
seen him at the Amaldi palace ?' — • 

* Never, I say. Oh ! that there were 
no such things as questions and inter^ 
jections upon this earth.' — ■*! would there 
were no such things as questions at this 
moment. But now I recollect, it is not 
strange you never saw him at the Amaldi 

9, 3 palace ; 

346 rATAjL revenge; or, 

palace ; he must have been dismissed.' 

— * Dismissed at my approach ?'— 
• Certainly, a rejected suitor ; and every 
one commended the Countess's prudence. 
Women have a privilege of change in 
their latest period of courtship, and a 
woman of so much prudence must make 
a better wife. To keep such reports 
from you so long, she must have a great 
store indeed, and kindness too, for it 
is kind to prevent superfluous pain.' 

— * If you think so, why do you not 
finish your tale ?' — * I finish it ! I 
know nothing more. Would you have 
in« repeat all the ribald talk of Naples, 
of my brother's wife too? If you have 
curiosity, or if you have patience, my 
servant, Ascanio, who lived lately with 
Verdoni, can tell you what he heard. 
But let me intreat if you have not pa- 
tience, donot call him.' 

He named a red-haired, ill-looking 
ihan, who attended him. I had a deep, 



untold aversion to that man ; I started at 
his name. I said involuntarily, * I shall 
not like to listen to what Ascanio will tell 
me.' — ^ Very possibly you will not,' ob- 
served my brother, inwardly. * Come, 
shall we go to the Countess's apartment, 
I think I hear her harp ?' — ' Yes,' said 
I, almost unconsciously, * let us go 
to — to my-— ^to the Countess.' — * I 
never heard you,' said he, carelessly, 

* call her the Countess so often as this 
evening; you used to say Erminia.' — 
' J?id she is Erminia,' said I, distracted 
by this hint, * she is, she must be mi/ 
Emninia,' I quitted the room ; I 
thought I heard my brother laugh as 
we quitted it. 

'* Erminia was sitting at her harp, her 
children were at her feet, peeping at 
each other through the strings, as she 
sung to them. I tried to listen, but 
every tone of voice or harp murmured 

* Verdoni.' I beckoned to my brother 
and we quitted th'e apartment. 



* Send for your servant,' said I, when 
we were alone. * For what ?' * I shall tell 
him when he comes.' ' You must tell me 
before he is sent for.' — 'Must?' — 
* Yes ; and moreover, you must pro- 
mise when he comes, to listen to him 
calmly.' — ' By mentioning tliat con- 
dition, it is plain you know for what 
purpose I would send for him.' — * And 
by seeming to decline that condition 
it is plain you expect he will disclose , 
something it is not safe for you to hear.' 
- — * I shall begin to expect it, if you do 
not call him immediately.' — * That ap- 
prehension alone makes me submit.' — 
(Precious devil !) — ' I trust he will 
disclose nothing so bad as you expect' 
■ — * Oh ! go for him, go for him,' said 
I, writhing with impatience, ' while 
you talk I am mad.' He M'ent ; As- 
cauio was not to be fotind. This was 
a master-stroke. I was left a whole 
night to think', both of them pouring 



their suggestions into every avenue of 
my heart, for the same number of hours, 
could not have effected so much as so- 
litude and the workings of my own 
thouo'ht effected. In the morninof As- 
canio was again summoned. I locked 
the apartment on him, my brother, and 
myself. I will not detail his serpent- 
windings, or his worse than serpent- 
sting. He affected that perplexity which 
endeavours to conceal a secret, when- 
ever I questioned him, and that terror 
which is conscious of guilt ; when I 
grew impatient, he affected a concern 
for the disclosures he reluctantly made ; 
he affected to be a character, of all others 
the most imposing — the honest, indig- 
nant, involuntary confident of vice. 
The sum of his tale was, that Verdoni 
had long been attached to the Countess; 
that in consequence of his attachment, 
he was indulged with an intime^cy, which 
he had abused ; that it was known they 


350 FATAL 

had a child, though how it was disposed 
of was not known; that he had been 
banished from the family, whose indis- 
cretion had pubHshed their misfortune ; 
that their lawless passion still continued, 
and was still gratified ; and the Countess's 
dejection arose more from the interrup- 
tion, than the disappointment of her 
guilty love. 

I listened to this, all told with the 
wildest breaks of fear and remorse ; 
1 listened with that distraction which 
does not lose a syllable. Expletive, 
and letter, and look, and nod, was writ- 
ten on my heart with a pen of iron. The 
characters are unefFaced, I could read 
them to this hour ; but to this hour its 
own evil is sufficient. Ascanio was dis- 
missed, and my brother sat silent, with 
the aspect of one who has reluctantly 
betrayed a secret ; at length he mur- 
mured something about inquiry and de- 
liberation. ' I dJW2 deUberating,' said I, 



scarce hearing myself. * Ogni Santi !' 
said he, MVhat are you doing?' — *I 
believe — am I not mending a pen? 
— mending a pen ! — mangling your flesh ; 
it is your finger you are cutting,' said 
he, snatching the knife from me. I saw 
my fingers flowing with blood, I looked 
on them and laughed. 

tF * •IV' ^ * ^ 

'*I cannot, I will not follow the grada- 
tions of my ruin, I will not throw aside 
the covering under which my mental 
wounds have festered so long, to count 
their number, or probe their depth, or 
thaw by frequent touch the poison that 
has almost congealed in them, the blood 
that has ceased to flow. I was desired 
to observe my wife more closely ; for I 
was told, that at night, when she be- 
lieved I slept, she indulged a luxury of 
sorrow and passion, in which she was 
even heard to call on the name of her 
paramour. I needed no suggestions to 


352 FATAL revexge; on, 

bid me wake. But on the night after 
I received the intimation, I counter- 
feited sleep as soon as I lay down. 

** In a short time she beo-an to sisfh hea- 
vily ; it was a sultry summer-night, and 
she was far adv^anced in her pregnancy. 
I ascribed her depression to an obvious 
cause, and with the natural inconsist- 
ency of him who watches to discover 
what he would die to prove false, I 
M^ished that some heavy spell would steep 
me in drowsiness, before I discovered 
her sighs had another source. In a 
short time she arose, and wrapping a 
loose robe around her, took one of the 
tapers that burned in a veiled nich, and 
walked to a cabinet, of which I had 
often observed her care to be excessive. 
Through my half-closed lids I watched 
her every motion. She placed the taper 
on a marble desk, which sometimes she 
used as an oratory, and on which stood a 
crucifix. She opened the cabinet, and 



^ft"cr exaniining some papers, she took 
out a parcel which she laid before her, 
and began to read. My heart throbbed 
audibly ; as she bent over the paper, I 
thought a tear fell on it. * Would 
she,' said I, mentally, * weep over the 
guilty passion of her paramour, under 
the very crucifix to which I have seea 
Ijer prostrate herself an hour ago ?' 

She put up the papers, and turning fronn 
the desk, leaned on the cabinet. The 
moon shone bright, and the lattice, 
woven v/ith jessamine and tuberose, was 
open, she turned towards it ; Mother 
of God ! how lovely she looked ! The 
taper tinged the summits of her feathery 
and burnished hair, with a radiance 
resembling that v/hich hovers round the 
head of a saint. The moonlight fell on 
her pale face, disclosing just in the 
centre of her cheek a flushing spot, such 
as no adoration from me had ever 
kindled ; her loose robe half disclosed 

a shape, 

S54f FATAL revenge; or, 

a shape, df all others, the most interest- 
ing to a husband. She murmured a few 
broken notes of an air I had often heard 
her lull her infants to rest with. Every 
sense might have been feasted by the 
picture before me ; but along with the 
odour of the jasmine, came the perfume 
of those fatal letters, 

I noted this well. I remembered that 
lovers, in voluptuous gallantry, often 
perfumed their letters. As I gazed on 
her, a tear glittered in the moonshine, it 
was followed by another, and another, and 
the last was accompanied by the mur- 
mured name of * Verdoni.' I groaned 
audibly ; she started ; she replaced the 
the letters and the taper, and ap- 
proached the bed. * Are you aw^ke, 
my Lord?' — * I fear I am almost 
awake r — -* You fear!' — * Oh ! yes, it 
was so sweet to dream as I have done!' — 
* Were your dreams so pleasant ? I 
thought I heaid you groan.' — -* I 



groaned when I found you had left me. 
— 'Left you!'— ^*YeSj even in sleep 
I felt it ; sleeping or waking I think 
only of you ; (she was standing beside 
the bed ; I knelt up in it ; I grasped 
both her hands ;) my senses, my soul, 
are full of you ! Erminia, I adore you 
so, with such nice and exquisite fond- 
ness, as you can never imagine! You 
can never love as I do 1 But, though 
you must ever be comparatively defi- 
cient, beware, I adjure you, of being 
positively so ; a dereliction of thought, 
an imao'ined desertion would drive me 
mad.' I was pouring out my whole 
heart with all its habitual impetuosity, 
at the very moment I had proposed to 
myself vigilance and caution. 

I was still holding her hands, she sunk 
into a chair, beside the bed, but without 
withdrawing them, I sprung from the 
bed, and knelt at her feet. Her head was 
declined with the pale, pensive lily 


S5(> FATAL uevenge; ok, 

bending, that. always melted me to sor- 
row and love. I continued to gaze on 
her without speaking, my voice was lost. 
* Hear me, my Lord/ — ' Hear ?ne, my 
Lady, and my love, and life ! I throw 
myself on your mercy, I implore your 
compassion for you and for myself. 
Do you remember the antique gem I 
gave you the other day ? You admired 
the workmamhip much, too much, more 
than the gift I fear. But I am w\inder- 
ing : — You remember the device, Cupid 
drawn by a lion, who paces quietly in 
his silken harness ; think of me thus, 
dear, blessed love ! Use me thus. While 
I am led by love, its caged emblems will 
not be so tender or so tame, but set free 
from that, L am a lion indeed, a lion 
who will-^oh ! Erminia, save me from 
imagining \vhat,' 

I dashed myself at her feet; I 
wept, I raved ; my violence produced 
its usual effects, she was terrified 
and fainted. Her attendants were sun> 



nioned. As I bent over her, extend- 
ed in the likeness of death, I breathed an 
inward vow to banish for ever from my 
mind the subject of our conference, 
of which I aheady felt the misery in- 
supportable, though the truth was not 
yet ascertained. I determined to sit 
down with the sufferings I could not now 
recal, and content with what happiness 
I might yet believe within my reach. 

"When they demanded of me the next 
morning what had been the event of my 
observations, I started as if I heard a ser- 
pent hiss. I prohibited all future men- 
tion of the subject ; they quitted the 
apartment in silence ; but Ascanio, 
as he was going out dropt a small key. 
I did not dare to think what this might 
mean. My first impulse was to seize it 
and try it where I suspected it M^as to 
be applied. I collected myself, and 
again called Ascanio. * You have dropt 
a key.' He sprung forward to seize it 



with the aspect of one who curses his 
own carelessness. 

Here I might have rested, and suf- 
fered him to depart with the shame 
of defeated villainy, -but my curiosity, 
my — the devil within me wasroused 
— * Does that key guard a treasure, 
that you snatch it w^ith such eager- 
ness ?' — * I do not know, my Lord.' — 
* You do not know what your own key 
secures?' — 'My Lord, the key is not 
mine.' — ' Not yours, whose is it then .^' 
* — * It belonged to my late master, the 
Chevalier Verdonu He made no use of 
it himself, he kept it as a relic, he said, 
it was a key belonging to a cabinet he 
had presented to a lady he loved.' 

*' I drove him from the room. In the 
confusion of his fear, he again dropt 
the key! I seized it; I flew to Erminia's 
room ; she was in the gardens of the 
castle with her children and attendants. 
I locked the door; to have seen my 
feverish tremblings, any one would have 
7 believed 


believed I was hastening to some feast 
of solitary delight, and at that moment, 
I would have changed situations with 
him that was writhing on the rack. One 
hope remained ; that the key was not 
designed for that cabinet; I tried it. 
Alas, it was only the trembling of my 
hands that made it seem to resist; it 
opened. A mist overspread my sight, a 
gentle knock at the door aroused me ; 
it was my eldest boy. — * You cannot 
come in, my darling.' — VWhy, father?'— 
'Because I am busy.' — *I know from 
the sound of your voice you are not 
praying, father, and why may I not 
come in.'— I could not answer. — ' Tell 
me what are you doing.' — ' I do not 
know what I am doing, ' said I in agony. 
* Whatever it be, throw it away, if it 
prevents you from coming to the gar- 
den, and playing with us.' He tripped 
lightly away. I heard every word ; the 
responses of an oracle had not sunk 
»o deep into my soul — * throw it away 1' 


360 FATAL revenge; or, 

The fatal papers were yet unopened. As 
I turned them with a shaking liand they 
i^ell, I stooped to replace them, and when 
my leye glanced on the first line, I could 
not M'ithdraw it till I had read to the 

** When I had done, sense and me- 
mory forsook me. I know not where my 
spirit went for some time, but thdjig^'h it 
seemed the very haunt of final wo'^, jt 
was paradise to its return to conscious- 
ness. All was mist and cloud for some 
time, such as the soul struggles through, 
breathless and fancy-bound, in some hag- 
ridden dream. I saw the walls of the 
apartment, but I knew not where I was ; 
I heard bells, and steps, and voices, but 
I knew not where I was ; I heard the 
voice of the Countess in the gallery, and 
then I knew where and what I was. 

** My despair was not easily concealed, 

even my domestics, 1 believe, observed 

it. In a short time, however, I became 

4 invisible 


invisible to all but my brother and his 
servant : them only I admitted, yet their. 
I could not bear to behold. 

** I am convinced I felt at the sight of 
that devil Ascanio, what a sorcerer feels 
in the presence of an imp whose ministry 
he employs, but by whom he knows he 
will be finally plunged in woe: his intel- 
ligence and his observation seemed neces- 
sary to existence, while they consumed 
it. I lived on poison. I was like the 
criminal travelling in the livid shade of 
the Upas, who must feed to live, and if 
he feeds must die. I had no feelings 
for this man but hatred and mulevolence. 
I never saw him but m.y throat swelled, 
and my eyes seemed scalding in their 
sockets ; 3^ct I fastened on him for my 
morbid food, and devoured it with the 
greediness with which one would swallow 
the promises of hope and fortune. 

'^ I mentioned to my brother the con- 
fessions of the guilty letters. I was asto- 

voL. I J I. R nished 

3()2 FATAL revenge; OR, 

nished to perceive that he listened to the 
disclosure like one whose feelings were 
preoccupied by some darker discovery. 
I remarked it with that quickness which 
met half way all the devices employed 
against tne. He shook his head ; I urged 
my suspicions with vehemence. ' If/ 
said he, * I could have any security 
that you would be patient, though after 
-wliat I have seen of you I have no reason 
to accuse your want of patience.' I 
urged him franticly to proceed. ' What 
I have formerly disclosed,' said he, 
* was accidentally and reluctantly; but 
I now speak from conscience and a sense 
of duty. Whatever errors a woman is 
guilty of before marriage, it is to be 
hoped the generous affection of a hus- 
banel will lead her to shame and repent- 
ance of; but when she persists in her 
deviations after, she ceases to be an 
object of compassion or pardon.' He 
stopped ; I waved my hand to him to 



proceed, I had no voice. ' I have al- 
reaady said every thing,' said he. Again 
I motioned to him to go on, though I 
could no longer distinguish sounds. * I 
have no more to say,' said he after a 
long pause. ' And I have no more to 
think,' said I. * Have you then re- 
solved on any thing r' — 'Yes, I have, 
if I could tell it ; but I have no words, 
they have all left me.' — *I know your 
purposes.' — ^ No, by my soul you do 
not ; you are thinking of blood and 
horror, I take no thought of them. For 
him, for /^/wz, were I the master of the 
sulphurous lake, I would give up all mi- 
nor tasks to minor imps, to watch him 
tossino- and welterino' on its waves for 
^ver and ever. For her, who has no 
name, let her live in what peace she 
may, 9?iy blood and that of her paramour 
shall be on her head ; but I could not 
shed a drop of hc?'Sy not if I might be 
lapped in a dream of love again for it.' 
R 21 —' And 

$6i FATAL revenge; oe, 

— ' And will you then suffer her to 
escape?' — ' When she is dehvered of 
the child, which I believe is mine, she 
shall be reaioved to a convent, and may 
the saints visit her retreat with penitence! 
for then will be done things that shall be 
a tale for ages — no, not one of those who 
have wrought me to this destruction shall 
escape 1 ! 1' As I uttered the last words, 
I thought I saw him grow pale. My 
mind was full of dark thoughts ; I seized 
his arm, I looked eagerly in his face : 
' Swear,' said 1, ' that what you have 
told nie is true.' lie kissed a missal that 
jay on the table. I saw, I heard him. 

^* ' Now swear that you have perjured 
yourself.' — ^ Are you mad?' — ' I am, I 
will be in a nioment unless you do; I 
cannot bear it.' 1 know not what fol- 
lowed ; I was for some hours in a state 
from which alone I have since derived 
pauses of relief. When I recovered, I 
felt I had a human heart no longer ; the 



images of affection, and wife, and child, 
seemed to strike on my heart with pal* 
pable imptdse, and lind no entrance 
tliere ; there was no longer admission of 
inmate there, the lamp was gone out, 
and the door shut for ever. The first 
sensation I was conscious of was an un- 
quenchable thirst. I swallowed draught 
after draught, and thirsted still ; it was 
mental and inward ; notliing could slake 
it but a thought which, wliile it relieved 
for a moment, made it more fierce and 
stinging : it was the blood of Verdoni in 
a vase before me. My brotlier, some- 
times deprecating my violence, and some- 
times bewailing his task, at length in- 
formed me that the gnilty intercourse of 
Erminia and Verdoni still continued, 
unchecked by fear, or by the suspicions 
v/hich my altered demeanour might have 
suggested to them. 

*' I know not how I answered him. I 
permitted him to arrange every thing for 


3b6 FATAL revenge; ok, 

their detection and piimshment. I was 
in his hands as passive as a tool, but I 
never relaxed niv demand of beinc: suf- 
fered to -dispatch Verdoni alone. 

*' My brother announced that I was 
about making a tour to the Grecian 
islands. I was accompanied by some at- 
tendants as far as the shore, there I dis- 
missed them, and hiring under an as- 
sumed name a small villa in the neigh- 
bourhood of Bai^, awaited the intelli- 
gence my brother engaged to send me. 
That came too soon. Ascanio brought 
me volumes of intercepted letters, refer- 
ring to interviews and indulgences stolen 
in my absence. Their frequent meetings, 
their visits to their child, their remarks 
on its increasing growth and beauty, 
every doubtful term in the letters of the 
cabinet repeated and confirmed, occurred 
in these intercepted scrolls. When pe- 
rused, their effect on me was usuallv a 
paroxysm so dreadful, that the people of 



the bouse were scarcely pacified by the 
assurances they received of my periodical 
insanity : these paroxysms were followed 
by hours of sohtude and abstraction, du- 
ring wliich I could tolerate the presence 
of no one, and none dared to approach 
me. It was during these moments that 
strange thoughts were with me. My 
spirits fell like a subsiding tide, and like 
a falling tide carried away with them the 
dregs and wreck of its spent fury. I had 
relinquished every circumstance and pre- 
tension of rank and eminence. I had be- 
come a private man in habit and exterior; 
all the vanity of the earth was become 
tasteless and loathsome to me, I sickened 
at their hollowness, I spurned their inca- 
pacity to suspend or alleviate calamity. 
I execrated the celebrity that made their 
possessor's fall only more conspicuous, 
his misfortunes a more popular theme of 
vulgar curiosity, his degradation a more 
ample feast for the vultures of envy. I 


S68 FATAL revenge; or, 

felt that to return to what I had been was 
impossible; thai: my outward man must 
partake of the change of my inward 
man ; tliat I could no longer support the 
Count Montorio's name, when I no longer 
possessed the Count Montorio's mind. I 
cannot describe the process or tlie effect 
of this change so great and effectual, 
though I experience its consequences to 
this hour. 

I was a bold, ambitious, vain man, 
proud of my rank, and fond of its 
pompous appendages : what I became 
suddenly and finally, my narrative will 
tell. I have compared my progress to 
that of a magnificent caravan, over- 
"whelmed and blasted in the majesty of 
its march by the burning deluge of the 
desert, and fixed a monument of desola- 
tion where it had moved a monument of 
pride. The result of my meditations was 
anticipated by a letter from Muralto, 
AV'here my brother still resided as a spy 
on the culprits. He told me that their 



passion raged with such shameless vio- 
lence, that Verdoni was frequently intro- 
duced at the castle, and that he had 
even fixed on a night to spend there, 
which the Countess had confessed, and 
implored him to conceal, helieving froni 
the frequency of her lover's visits that it 
was no longer possible to dissemble their 
object. When I. read this — • 

1 need not go on, nor will I enumerate 
every link of the chain that they wound 
round me with the art of demons, every 
one of burning iron, that scorched with- 
out consuming. I xvill mention, however, 
one circumstance, which is but too strong- 
ly indicative of my character, of that part 
of it which is derived from hereditary 
propensity. I think I can recollect the 
impressions they intended to produce 
were unsettled till they introduced a; 
wretch, a mendicant, an astrologer, who' 
talked something about prediction, and 
horoscopes, and ascendants, and a trinai 
R 3 aspect 


aspect on some hour on the appointed 
evenhig. He was a meagre, illiterate 
wretch ; T would have spurned my lac- 
quey for listening to him ; yet I hstened 
to him. I was hke a sufferer bit by the ta* 
rantula, though my veins were filled with 
poison, they bounded and vibrated to 
his muttering jargon. 

^' The night arrived. If any being; 
could be supposed enveloped in lightning 
without being consumed, and then dis- 
missed without losing the faculties and 
functions of life, such I believe would 
he describe the moment of his existence 
in the fiery fluid to be, as I remember 
the events of that night, thus sudden, 
thus hot, thus blasting ; gone almost 
when felt, without a possibility of de- 
fining or forgetting; the time of its 
agency a moment, of its effects, for ever. 

At the close of that evening I quitted 
my habitation^ and met my brother in a 
forest that skirted the Campagna, about 



two miles from Muralto, Avliose towers I 
could yet see through the dusk. He ciid 
not speak, and I believed all he had told 
me was true. We rode into a thicket, 
where we alighted and secured our horses. 
In a few moments I heard the trampling 
of hoofs. A cavalier passed alone, his 
deportment U'as melancholy and his pace 
slow. He passed us, my brother made 
a signal that we should again mount our 
horses ; we did so. At some distance I 
saw him enter a cottage in the forest, I 
saw him at the door caressing a child, 
whom he placed before him, and disap- 
peared in the windings of the wood. 
' Adulterous villain !' said my brother* 
1 did 720 1 speak, all M^as mist and dark- 
ness with me. I followed my brother's 
motions mechanically. We entered the 
cottage, there was only a wonian within, 
I leaned against the door, I could not 
breathe the air he had poisoned. My 
brother passed before me to prevent her 


372 FATAL revenge; or, 

being alarmed at my appearance, it \va» 
probably most terrific. ' Who is the ca- 
valier that has just quitted your cottage ?' 
— ^ May I ask who inquires, Signor?' — 

* We are friends, and have important 
business with him ; ijf we are right in 
our conjectures of his name — ' ' Why, 
Signor, he calls himself Orsanio,' said 
the woman, proud of her sagacity ; * but 
I myself have heard his attendants ad- 
dress him by the name of Verdoni.' — 
' He visits your cottage frequently ?' — 

* Oh, frequently, Signor ! He has a 
beautiful babe here, whom he cannot 
live a day without seeing,' — * And is he 
always unaccompanied ?' — ^ Oh, no, Sig- 
nor! he is often met here by a lady in 
a veil, and they converse and weep over 
the child till they make me weep too, 
though I know not for what.' — ' Do you 
know from whence the lady comes ?' — 
' She leaves her carriage at the skirts of 
the wood, Signor ; but I have heard it 



said that she is seen to return to the cas- 
tle of Muralto, whose towers you can 
just see through the twilight. There are 
strange things told of the possessors of 
that great castle. Hark, Signor ! could 
that groan have been uttered by the ca- 
valier who leans there?'— 'No, no; pro- 
ceed, proceed/ 

All this I heard, but after the last 
sentence I heard nothing. We quit- 
ted the cottage, we mounted our horses. 
* What do you purpose to do ?' said 
my brotlier. I could make no an- 
swer, but showing my drawn stiletto, 
and pointing towards the castle. We 
rushed into the wood ; I did not see we 
were joined by Ascanio, till he pointed 
out Verdoni at a little distance before 
us. I sprung forward, he attempted to 
defend himself; and believing us from 
our masks and arms to be assassins, im- 
plored us to save his chikL I dashed 
the bastard to the ground. He drew, but 
by this time the others had come up, and 


374 FATAL revenge; or, 

Ascanio with a blow lopped off the hand 
that held the sword. Possibly he saved 
my life, for I was so blind and impotent 
with fury he might have overcome me 
with a reed. But I had no wish to man- 
gle or butcher, I would not touch a hair 
of his head. I seized the reins of his 
horse, and we galloped towards the cas- 
tle. They asked what I purported, but 
I could only utter ' my wife.' 

There are many private avenues which, 
whiding beneath the ramparts, open on 
the wood ; they were unknown except to 
me, for none but an enthusiast in antiqui- 
ty would explore them. They followed 
me, therefore, as they would a magician, 
who discloses a path among subterranean 
rocks. I remembered their windings 
well, and remembered that one of them 
terminated in a dark and secret stair that 
communicated with the apartments of 
my wife. We traversed those caverns 
with no light but what broke through 



chasm or crevice above, with no sound 
but the inarticulate moans of the devoted 

I will not interrupt this narrative 
with attempts to describe what men 
call their feelings ; for such as mine 
there can be but little sympathy, for 
there is no knowledge. Few have been 
in my circumstances, none that ever I 
knew have had my mind. It is easy to 
tell of the fall of ambition and the loss 
of felicity ; but who has dared to describe- 
the state of Lucifer, the ' son of the 
morning,' when he fell from the sphere 
of a seraph and the hannonies of heaven 
into darkness and woe, into beds of fire 
and fetters of adamant. Such was mine^ 
total, remediless, final : worse, none but 
a mortal can know the hell of love. 

** 1 left our victim at the foot of the 
staircase with my brother ; I ascended 
to the Countess's apartment. I traversed 
one in which the children weie sleeping : 
I could not look at them. Their mother 


S76 FATAL revenge; or, ■ 

was ill her bedcliaiiiber ; her nurse wa^ 
her only attendant. She screamed when 
she saw me ; I attempted som.e insulting- 
words, but my voice was choaked. I be- 
lieve in a moment she comprehended the 
whole of her danger: she must, for my 
visage was the visage of a demon, and 
though I had not the power of language, 
my voice was like the roar of ocean. 
* Oh, 1 am betrayed and undone !' said 
she, staggering back and falling on the 
bed. Then I found words. Words 1 Fire- 
brands, and arrows, and death, I hurled 
at her in my rage of malediction. The 
woman interposed, affrighted inter}X)sed. 
I spurned her away. Darkly I menaced 
somethino^ that seemed to stins: her to 
apprehension. She sprung from the bed, 
she clung to my feet, she wept, she gro- 
velled, she adjured me but to hear her — • 
to hear her — ' let me but be heard !' I 
saw, I felt, I feasted on the anguish of 
her soul; every arrow she had sent into 



!ny heart was returned to hers harbed 
vvith poison. * I am innocent, hv this 
light !'— ' Aduheress !' — ' By this blessed 
cross I kiss — ' * Adulteress ! adulteress!' 
I roared. * Hear me but for a moment, 
but for one moment ; confront me with 
your brother. Oh, Verdoni ! we are de- 
stroyed by treachery.' 

I tried to force myself from her, she 
clung to me still I dragged her along 
the ground ; her shrieks were wild, her 
grasp was like the grasp of death. 
' Oh, but for a moment hear me ! Is 
that so much ? As you expect to be 
heard yourself when you are stretch- 
ed on the bed of death !' Suddenly 
I stopt I fixed my dry and burst- 
ing eyes on her ; I felt the unnatural 
and hushed stillness of my voice. ' I 
will not be heard myself in the hour of 
death ; I have no hope, you have 'reft 
me of it, you have undone me for ever. 
The horrors and burden of this night are 
on my soul through you, and of you 


S78 FATAL revenge; or, 

tliey shall be required. Ko, Ascanio ! 
drag that adulterous villain here, his 
mistress is ready for her paramour.' She 
started from her knees, she fixed her eyes 
on the door by which I entered ; she saw 

'* I mast go on. They talk of the 
vengeance of Italian husbands ; mine 
outgoes example. I caused him to be 
deliberately stabbed before her sight ! ! ! 

*' I paused between every blow. I bid 
her listen to every groan ! Poor distracted 
wretch 1 she thought the ravings of her 
love would disarm, instead of nerving 
my blows. When she found her shriek- 
ing supplications for ' mercy ! mercy I 
mercy!' were vain, she became wilder 
than myself. With the frenzy of a lover, 
she reeled up and down, blind and breath- 
less, echoing the faint cries of Verdoni, 
and cursing his murderers, whom she 
had a moment before knelt to. ' Devils ! 
devils!' she shrieked, ' I do not pray, I 



do not kneel now; stab on! Oh, that 
my eyes would burst !' Verdoni's last 
blood-stifled groan came to her ear. * Ah, 
that groan was ease !' she screamed. * He 
is dead! Ha! ha! ha! I laugh at ye 
now ; he is dead, he is dead ! 

'' Staggering she sunk upon the body. 
Her Jicari burst ! V/hcn I touched her, 
she was cold as a stone ; her eyes fixed 
but lifeless, her limbs relaxed, her pulses 
extinct. When I found she was dead, 
gone without recall for ever, that Erminia 
was dead ! — But I have no power to speak 
of that hour. I sprung forward with 
the speed of one who flies from destruc- 
tion ; destruction did indeed surround 
me on every side ; and it was owing to 
this unexpected direction my passions 
took, and the inconceivable velocity with 
which I pursued it, that I escaped, for 
that niglit at least. I must have flown 
with the speed of a cloud chased by the 
storm, for I was many miles along the 


S80 FATAL revenge; or, 

western shores of Naples by midnight. 
My horse, whom I had found in the 
wood, then sunk under me. I flew on 
foot, traversing the windings of the shore 
like a wave. My reason was not sus- 
})ended, it was totally changed, I had 
become a kind of intellectual savage; a 
being, that with the malignity and de- 
pravation of inferior natures, still retains 
the reason of a man, and retains it only 
for his curse. Oh ! that midnight dark- 
ness of the soul, in which it seeks for 
something whose loss lias carried away 
every sense but one of utter and desolate 
privation ; in which it traverses leagues 
in motion and worlds in thought, with- 
out consciousness of relief, yet with a 
dread of pausing. I had nothing to seek, 
nothing to recover; the whole world 
could not restore me an atom, could not 
shew me again a glimpse of what I had 
been or lost ; yet I rushed on as if the 
next step would reach shelter and peace. 



]My flight was so wild and rapid, that it 
was equally impossible to calculate its 
direction or overtake its speed. I had 
disappeared while they were removing the 
corses and the traces of blood. Other 
causes might have contributed to my 
escape : there was a storm, they said, a 
commotion both of air and earth. I re- 
collect nothing of it but the report ; but 
it probably deterred those who were not 
desperate like me. 

'^ Towards morning I sprung into a 
small bark, it was going to Sicily ; but 
Sicily I soon quitted, and crossed into 
the Grecian isles. I had an inveterate 
loathing, not of the human form, but 
of the human form under an Italian 
garb ; aye, of the houses and trees, the 
language and the very air : whatever I 
had formerly resembled, or been con- 
versant with, was an abomination to me. 
1 looked on them as a condemned spirit 
rnay be supposed to look on the body in 


382 FATAL revenge; oh, 

which he had sinned, now dark, deserted, 
and loathsome; at once the rememhran- 
cer of pleasure, and the incendiary of 
pain. It is remarkable, that during this 
term I adopted in desperation the very 
course that the most active and suspi- 
cious caution would have deliberately 
pursued. My frequent changes of resi- 
dence, my private haunts, my solitude, 
and my disguise, preserved from disco- 
very as effectually as if they had been 
intentional or even conscious. 

'* I rambled from isle to isle, from 
sand to rock, without notice and without 
interruption. The people were poor and 
simple, they had no leisure for curiosity; 
my appearance terrified them, and they 
•were glad when it was removed. My 
iniserable food was easily procured, my 
clothes were now ragged, and my bed 
the bare earth. This was a brother's 
doing! Still I wandered on, for there 
was something I wanted ; that something 


was utter solitude, a total amputation 
from life. I had heard of a little barr-^ 
islet, which was dreaded as the haunt of 
a spirit of wrecks and storms : I rowed 
myself thither in a boat one still night. 
Whether it was the residence of such a 
being, I cared not ; it was enough for 
me no human being ventured there. Here 
I found all I needed, a cave, water, wild 
fruits, and during the winter more pro- 
visions than I could consume left on the 
shore by the superstitious people to pro- 
pitiate the turbid spirit of the place. 

^' Here I sunk into a strange kind of 
animal life ; I became quite a creature of 
the elements ; my propensities and habits 
ceased to be those of humanity, of social 
humanity at least. I lost the use of lan- 
guage ; I forgot my own name ; yet my 
time was sufficiently diversified by the 
changes of the season and the sky. When 
it was tempestuous I rushed abroad, I 
howled and shrieked with the voices of 



the storm. 1 bared my pelted head and 
breast to the rain, and wl^en cold and 
drenched retired to my cave and slept. 
When it \ras calm I sat on a crag of n^y 
cave and listened to the winds, whose 
wild and chano-eful moaninos were 
wrought by the diversities of the shore 
into a quaint mimicry of human sounds, 
to the tide, whose lambent rjpplings I 
felt, as well as heard, breathing tranquil- 
lity. I never thought of my former self, 
or of those with whom I had been ; I 
was conscious of something like a daik 
recess in my thoughts, from which I 
seemed to have emerged lately, and into 
which I did not wish to venture again. 
Sometimes I dreamt ; but my faculties 
were so confused that I only remembered 
my dream as something obscurely pain- 
ful, something that interrupted that quiet 
exile from consciousness and thought, 
that seemed to be the menstruum of my 
present existence. I believe I miglit 



h'dve lingered oat nuiuy years in this 
3tate, on the principle of the longevity 
of icieots. 

*' One evening as I sat on the sea 
Tshore, I saw a boat at a small distance, 
which floated along its winding, as if 
rather to observe than to land. I lifted 
my heavy and stagnated eyes ; but when 
I saw the Italian habits in the boat, I 
flew to hide myself in my cave, shaking 
with horror. I did not venture out a«:ain 
till it was dark; there were stars, but no 
moon : it was owing to this, and to the 
silent tread of my naked feet, that I ap- 
proached unseen where two men were 
seated on a point of rock conferring. 
The Italian language came to my ear ; I 
listened with a blind and mechanical 
delight at first. I loved the sound (so 
M'ild are the inconsistencies of the human 
mind), though at first the words were 
unintelligible. I was quickly awakened 
to their full meaning. * You are a bold 

VOL. III. s and 

S86 FATAL revenge; or, 

and daring devil, Jscanio,' said one, 
'Yes, I was once, but I am almost spoiled 
for these feats now. Could I think I 
might hope for absolution I would turn 
penitent, aye, monk, and pray for the 
remainder of iny days. The murder of 
the unfortunate cavalier and lady, who 
were as innocent as those blessed lights 
above, and the persecution of the wretch- 
ed mad Count to this desolate and savage 
life ; nor even to let him rest in his den, 
to shed his blood on these wild sands, by 
all the saints I wonder this rock supports 
us !' — ' Aw^ay, fool ! half the convents 
in Italy might be bribed with a moiety 
of the ducats we shall get for it' 

There was much more ; 1 listened for 
an hour; they talked as without witness, as 
two murderers, solitary and undisguised. 
Erminia, the unfortunate lady, and the 
cavalier, innocent ! and the wretched mad 
Count, persecuted to desperation and 
murder by his brother, and then by his 



brother traced to solitude, and slaughtered 
in Ills den ! 

*' Oh I — but I cannot, cannot; if I 
should but write her name, I shall write 
on for unnoted days and nights volumes 
filled only with her name. Late and 
impotent repentance, and cries of post- 
humous despair 1 

** I xciil pursue my narrative. I re- 
treated to my cave, with an instinctive 
provision for safety ; yet when I came 
there I could neither devise nor employ 
a weapon if I had it. T fell on my bed 
of leaves, and awaited death. I saw a 
shadow darkening the entrance of my 
hut ; one of them crept in as he would 
into the den of a savage, whom he feared 
to rouse by noise or light. I had no 
power of motion ; by a strange but lucky^ 
infatuation I felt as if I was compelled 
to await the approach of my murderer. 
He dr€w near ; in the darkness of my 
cave I could no longer see his steps, but 
s 2 I felt 

388 FATAL revenge; or, 

I felt them ; so dark M'as the nook in 
which I lay, that I felt his breath on my 
face, but could not see him. AVith an 
impulse, whose quickness prevented 
escape or resistance, I sprung up ; the 
part I fastened on darkling was his throat* 
I threw him to the ground; my strength, 
naturally great, was rendered gigantic 
by my habits of hardihood and diffi- 

** I felt him gasp and quiver with the 
motions of death ; I felt his vest for his 
stiletto, it Mas stuck in his belt un- 
sheathed. I drew it out, and with steps 
that did not rouse the bat from its cleft, 
stole to the entrance of the cave. The 
other was bending over a crag that fenced 
it ; I sprung on him when he expected 
his associate : he started, and beheld a 
form scarce human holding a dagger to 
his throat. 

'* He flew with the swiftness of fear, 
and I with tl^ swiftness of revenge ; 



delighted I perceived him toiling up a 
rock, which, isolated and bare, beetled 
over the sea, cutting off all retreat. He 
looked, and leaped ; I bent over the 
ridge, and beheld him struggling in the 
waters. I returned to my cave ; the 
body that lay there was black, and swoln, 
and stark. I did not lie in my cave that 
night; I vented my rage and anguish 
along tb.e shores, in sounds as wild as 
the winds that swept them, sounds that 
I sometimes thouglit were echoed by 
-wailing cries from the rock where I had 
compelled Ascanio to plunge into the 
dark and pitiless w^aters. Towards morn- 
ing I searched the corse in the cave ; I 
found letters, principally from my bro- 
ther and his wife to the bearer, who was 
a public assassin, and his brother Asca- 

* * * :^ I ^vas at first about to de- 
scribe the effects of their perusal ; but I 
feel I must not. I have a task to do, 



for which all that remains to me of intel- 
lect is necessary. Why should I waste 
it in sallies of voluntary frenzy ? It is 
enough for me to detail the contents of 
these letters. I zvill do it most calmly 
and ifmhrinkingly. * * * ^ * 

*' It appeared that my brother had 
been the former lover of my wife ; that 
his own marriage had been a match of 
angry disappointment, which, fermented 
by his wife's ambition, had suggested to 
him the idea of working on my creduloiis 

and vindictive disposition ; and 

I will go on calmly and unshrinkingly. 
He had planted spies about the family of 
Amaldi; and he had suborned a depraved 
servant whom Verdoni had dismissed. 
The secret sorrows that so visibly clouded 
the House of Amaldi \vere quickly known. 
Erniinia had in her earliest youth been 
attached to Verdoni; her father, with 
common worldliness of character, hesi- 
tated, in the hope of a. splendid suitor. 



But his cold policy was spurned by the 
lovers; they were united privately in the 
church of St. Antonio, in the night of 
the 4th December, I667, and the follow- 
ing winter Erminia was delivered of an 
infant daughter at the house of a relative 
not far from Naples. About this time 
Verdoni's regiment was stationed in the 
neig-libourhood of Palermo, where a now- 
eiful'banditti terrified and oppressed tiie 
country. The inhabitants requested tlie 
aid of military force, Verdoni's company 
inarched against the banditti^ but misled 
in the windings of a forest, were assailed 
by an ambuscade, and cut off to a man. 
The names of the officers '\vho had perish- 
ed were sent to Naples, and the first 
among them was that of Verdoni. Ermi- 
nia's marriage had not been at this time 
avowed, and there was now no necessity 
for its avowal. She wept over her father- 
less babe in solitude. At this moment 
my disastrous proposals were urged. 


592 FATAL bevenge; or, 

Wounded and shocked, Erminia appealed 
to her father ; she told him her tale. She 
was answered by a command to marry 
the Count Montorio on pain of paternal 
malediction. She was told of the folly of 
sacrificirg her yoiith and hopes to the 
cherishing of a widowed name, and of 
the wicket! ness of preferring duty to a 
dead husband to a living father. She 
wept, she trembled, and she obeyed. 
Oh ! she was all gentleness, all melting, 
pliant^ zreephig uwmati I She impure I 
She was formed of thrice-fanjned snow, 
tempered with dew from the cup of the 
lily of the vale, and animated by some 
spirit who had bathed in the cold blood 
of spheral light ; she that should have 
been nested in my bosom, and fed with 
kisses like the suckling of my heart ; 
she-^ — I have vowed to write her name 
no more. 

Shortly after our fatal marriage, 
her husband, who had been taken 
prisoner by the banditti, and confined 


ill a subterranean cavern, after a perilous 
and strange emersion into light, returned 
to Italy. He returned in disguise, for 
he dreaded the pursuit of those from 
whom he had escaped. He returned, 
and found his wife the wife of another 
man, and the mother of other children ! 
No one dared to tell of his return to her, 
still less was it probable her family would 
disclose their shame to me, a shame their 
own selfish haste had incurred. She was 
wandering one evening in the woods, 
with her own attendant ; a voice called 
on her, she was retreating in affright; 
again it called, a well known voice of 
reproach and love. The next moments 
the lovers wept in agony on each other. 
To meet him often, to weep with him 
over the child of their sorrows, who 
could envy her this last sad consolation? 
It was at this n>oment that my brother, 
prompted by his Tullia of a wife (for mere 
man was incapable of it)^ determined to 
fi^ 3 possess 


possess himself of rank and wealth with- 
out the doubtful and suspected means of 
poinard or poison. He knew neither of 
them could go more swiftly or silently to 
the seat of life than the infamy of the 
wife I adored, or the diminution of the 
honour I was an enthusiast in. He was 
safe, besides, for no one would venture 
to tell me that my wife was the wife of 
another, nor even if they suspected I 
knew it would they presume to comment 
on it. I was therefore shut up to the 
mercy of these two men, who had not 
kindness enough to stab me to the heartv 
The letters I had found in the cabinet 
had been written during the period of 
their wedded separation at Naples. Every 
expression of luscious and intimate ten- 
derness occurred in them; but from a 
necessary caution, all allusions to their 
real situation (which would have unde- 
ceived me) were suppressed, lest they 
should be discovered by her father. Da- 



ling my absence, my abused wife had 
intrusted her honour and her sufferings 
to my brother. She had informed him 
that Verdoni was about to quit Italy for 
ev^er ; and that she proposed, after her 
confinement, to retire into a convent, 
and assume the veih My murdered lovet 
amid the anguish of passion her thoughts 
wei'e holy as vestal dreams ! She ac- 
knowledo-ed mv affection, she avowed 
her gratitude to me, she implored him 
to sooth my disappointments in pride and 
in passion — mine, who was planning her 
murder ! 

In the dark hour of solitary woe 
thus she leant on him, and thus he 
betrayed her ! Oh ! why did her fatal, 
fatal wish to spare my feelings prevent 
lier making the disclosure herself? My 
suffering would have been indeed great, 
but my triumph would have been great 
also. I would have resigned her to her 
first love, to the husband of her youth ; 
resigned her without a groan, though 



my last had followed the sacrifice when 
they had left me alone. I would — But 
I am to tell not what T would have heen, 
but what I am. In other parts of the 
letters I found they had resolved on a 
total massacre that night, that we were 
to have fallen by each other. Two vic- 
tims had indeed fallen ; but I, as I have 
related, had escaped by an unexpected 
impulse of flight, to which I yielded in 
the madness of the moment, without 
thought of safety or of danger, and 
vhich the confusion of murder had pre- 
vented them from noticing till I was 
many miles from Muralto. 

** Since that period, which was about 
three years, Ascanio and his brother had 
pursued me through Italy; they had 
pursued every track and shadow of intel- 
ligence with the hot and breathless dili* 
gence of a chace of blood, while my 
brother, trembling in his castle, spread 
a report of my death, and celebrated my 



funeral rites in the chapel of the family. 
They had at length discovered me, and 
their charge was death, without noise 
and without delay. Such was the intel- 
ligence of these lettei's, scattered up and 
down, conveyed in hint and reference, 
confident and familiar. 

** When I was perusing them, there 
was hut one nerve in my heart whose 
motion was restless and inquiring, all 
the rest seemed seared and rivetted. I 
read on with an agitation which was the 
last alarm of nature — my children I I 
read on — they were dead! * * # * 

** When I had read all, a fire seemed 
to spring up within me ; a dark, solid^ 
unconsuming fire, that preyed without 
destroying. I know not how to describe 
my sufferings (for I always suffered m 
solitude, there was no voice of inquiry 
near me, no shadow of a friend to fling^ 
refreshment on my cold bed of leaves) ; 



but surely never were spirit and body so 
strangely acted on by cacb other. The 
fire I speak of seemed to me corporal 
and visible. I remember sitting on a 
point of rock, and wondering it did not 
smoke and crumble beneath me ; I seem- 
ed to live in fire. My muscles and nerv^es, 
swoln and rigid Vv'itb agony, ^vere like 
rods of red hot metal ; my hairs hissed 
and sparkled with the flickering of flame 
when the wind moved them ; and my 
eyes, their sockets seemed glowing iron, 
and when I closed them, long tresses of 
dancing fire floated from them, and they 
; seemed to turn on an inward world of 
flames, on which they gazed with the 
anguish, but not the short duration, that 
the rage of the elements permits. 

** I know not how long I was in this 
state ; I had no mark of time but day 
and night, and to them I had been often 
insensible, except that I think I was 
conscious of greater pain from the glare 
of the day. When I recovered, E;minia 



and Verdoni were beside me : never for a 
moment since have I been insensible of 
their presence. They have been at dif- 
ferent times my punishment and my 
consolation, my taskers and my compa- 
nions. Four years in my rocky soli- 
tude I conferred with them alone, some- 
times tranced by their whispers, and 
sometimes harrowed by their shrieks. I 
speak with the earnestness and simplicity 
of one who, convinced of what he speaks, 
is careless of being believed by others. 
The dreams of the night are easily dis- 
solved, and strange shapes are sometimes 
seen to skimmer through the twilight af 
a cavern ; but I have met them at noon, 
on the bare sunny shore. I have seen 
them on the distant wave, M'hen its bed 
was smooth and bright as jasper ; the 
curtained mist that hung on mole and 
breaker, and mingled with the sheeted 
spanglings of the surf, floated back from 
them, did not throw a fringe of its sha- 
dowy mantling on their forms, I could 



not be deceived. Sometimes the light 
was glorious beyond imagination. To- 
wards sunset I would sometimes see a 
small white cloud, and watch its ap- 
proach ; it would fix on a point of the 
rock that rose beside my cave ; as twi- 
light thickened it would unfold, its cen- 
tre disclosing a floating throne of pearl, 
and its skirts expanding into wings of 
iris and aurelia that upbore it. By moon- 
light the pomp grew richer, ' and the 
vision became exceeding glorious. My- 
riads of lucent shapes were visible in that 
unclouded shower of light which fell from 
the moon on the summit of the rock ; 
myriads swam on its opal waves, wafted 
in a fine web of filmy radiancy, canopied 
with a lily's cup, and inebriate with li- 
quid light. Among them sat the shadows 
of the lovers, sparkling with spheral light, 
and throned in the majesty of vision, 
but pale with the traces of mortality. 
There sat the lovers m sad and shadowy 



&tate together; so greatly unfortunate, 
so fatal, passing, fond. Sometimes, 
>vhen stretched on n\y cold, lone bed, I 
liave heard her voice warbling on the 
wind, touches of sweet, sad music, such 
as I have heard her sing when she 
thought herself alone and unheard. I 
have risen, and followed it, and heard 
it floating on the waters j I listened, and 
would have given worlds to xveep. On a 
sudden the sounds would change to the 
most mournful and wailing cries, and Er- 
niinia, pale and convulsed as I saw her last, 
would pass before me, pointing to a gory 
shape that the waves would throw at my 
feet. Then they would plunge together 
into the waters, and where far off the 
moon shed a wan and cloudy light on 
the mid wave, I would see their visages 
rise dim and sad, and hear their cry die 
along the waste of waters. 

'* Often when in autumn the sun set 
among clouds and vapours, I sat at the 



> mouth of my cave to watch the scenery 
' that followed. The clouds, dark, and 
rapid, and broken with strong stains of 
red, would assume wild resemblances to 
things I scarcely recalled ; ships, and 
towers, and forests on fire, and moving 
shapes of things that never lived. Some- 
times they formed a castle, a black 
mountain mass of structure, its turrets 
>vere fringed with fiame, and the gleamy 
spots below seemed like fires peeping 
through casement and loop-liole, and the 
sanguine waters that reflected its shade 
seemed to moat it with blood ; and hosts 
of embattled vapours, flushed with the 
hues of the stormy sky, seemed to march 
in mid air to attack it. Then, while I 
gazed, Erminia, in the first flash of the 
sieging lightnings, would burst on my 
sight with a face of wrath and menace, 
and behind her another fo;-m, dark with 
the vage of tempests. Oh ! worse than 
the rage of tempests to me was his sight. 

I have 


I have fled fito my cave, I have buried 
ray face in my bed of leaver. But what 
shapes have I seen as the keen and subtle 
lightnings, glancing through cleft and 
crevice, filled the cavern with sheets of 
paly blue ? 

*' It was on due of those nights that, 
wild and resistless as the tempest, a 
thought rushed on my mind; it Was the 
only thought that for years had warmed 
m}^ heart with a natural impulse, or con* 
vinced me I yet held alliance with the 
world of human beings. Do ye who read 
my story ask what was that thought ? I 
pray ye to pause a moment, and think 
on my state. 

*' I was a nobleman, a representative 
of a noble house, whose honours I bore 
imtarnished, and of whose honours I was 
proud. i\Iy wealth was great, my power 
greater ; the. sphere and shadow of n\v 
influence included thousands, who were 
cherislicd and sustained by it. I was 
f4 ioved 

404 TATAL revenge; or, 

loved by some, honoured by many, feared 
by inany ; and to the fear, such as re- 
mote and unbending dignity inspires, I 
was not averse. This was only a part of 
my character. I was, and I may now 
speak of myself as one who lives no more, 
a munificent patron, an invincible friend, 
an adoring lover. I was a husband, a 
father ; my soul was wrapt up in my 
wife and children. In spite of my high 
thoughts.and demeanour, I slept on the 
bosom of domestic love with a fondness 
of clasp and a softness of rest, such as 
the mildest spirit might seek in the hum- 
blest shed of privacy : such I was. I 
might have run my race in peace and 
honour : such 1 was. And what had I 
been made? by 2i brother I had cherished 
and saved, a inurdcrer, a savage, an out- 
cast of botli worlds, a denizen of the 
wilds in habit, a demon in soul ! 

There is no describing that depravation 
of humanity, both physical and moral, to 



which he had reduced me. Nebuchad- 
nezzar, who was driven from among men, 
and abode among the beasts, had proba- 
bly no throbbings of remembered worth 
or dignity, no anguish of moral debase- 
ment to haunt his dark sleep. My suf- 
ferings comprehended the extremes of all 
a being could be human and suffer. I 
was the lover of an object no power could 
obtain or restore ; I was the idolator of a 
fame which was extinguished and lost ; I 
was a villain with unimpaired consci- 
ence ; I was a madman with perfect 
consciousness. Is there one fool enough 
to ask what remained to me ? 
REVENGE ! ! ! 
Yes, from the bare breast of an island 
rock, from its starved, and naked, and 
raving inhabitant, from a wretch who 
might have been shewn for a spectacle 
through the streets of Naples, came a 
burst of vindictive energy that laid one 
of its proudest houses in the dust. 

'' This 

406 FATAL revkxce; or, 

'' Tills event, of Nvhicb I have hitherto 
sketched tlie motives, is the proper sub- 
ject of this narrative. Almost the mo- 
ment I conceived it, I conceived its pro- 
gress, its means, and the very point of 
the criminal's character and situation on 
which it was to be made to bear. To 
shevv' him the hollowness, the worthless-' 
ness, the nothingness of that for which 
he had sold himself under sin, was no 
longer an object with revenge or with 
conscience ; its own attainment had con- 
vinced him forcibly and awfully of it. 
In his letters 1 discovered he was a miser- 
able man. It is usual to talk of the 
dreams of a murderer's night ; but he 
was substantially wretched, wretched from 
suspicion, wretched from fear, wretched 
from the conviction that he had destroyed 
himself— for nothing. With him, there- 
fore, appeal had been anticipated by 
conviction, and punishment superseded 
by remorse. But he was now surrounded 



by a numerous family, for whose M^elfare 
perhaps he endeavoured to reconcile him- 
self to guilt, and to believe that the 
offences that benefited his children 
could scarce fail of pardon. His children 
were to shine out on the world in unsus- 
pected magnificence and unmixed accla- 
mations ; while mine, the native heirs of 
J^Iuralto, mouldered in their mother's 
bloody grave, unwept but by their exiled 
father, the father who bad lain them 
there! Whoever is acquainted with its 
direful event, may have now anticipated 
my purpose, — to make the children the 
punishers of the father, and to combine 
the eternal spoliation of the name and 
lion ours wrested from me with the fall of 

their usur|>er. 

# # # 4^ # # # 

*' I am aware that so horrible an idea 
never entered the human mind before. 
Let him that is disposed to execrate me 
only cast his eye on the preceding pages. 

I do 

408 FATAL revenge; ok,. 

I do not say I will be justified ; but it 
will at least be confessed that he who was 
injured as never man was injured, should 
be revenged as man was never avenged. 
It is remarkable, that from the moment 
I conceived this idea, my reason was not 
only restored, with scarce a subsequent 
interval of insanity, but my pov/ers were 
confirmed, condensed, invigorated to a 
degree of invincible iron-like force and 
stability, to which alone such an under- 
taking could be possible. I had no fail- 
ing weakness of head or of heart, no 
suspension of my purpose from the frail- 
ties of humanity or intellect from that 
hour for ever. 

** A total desertion of my savage habits 
was my first resolution. I inured myself, 
after many distortions of reluctance, to 
bear the sight of the human face and the 
sotmd of the human voice. After some 
time I crossed to the next inhabited islet. 
I endeavoured to reconcile rcijself to hu- 


man life ; to sit for an hour without start . 
or exclamation ; to eat without walking 
about at my food ; and (most difficult 
of all) to pass the night in a bed, where 
at first I found rest impracticable. It 
was here, \vhen the first vehemence of 
my purpose had expended itself, I began 
to scan the difficulties that surrounded 
it, and to find them numberless and peri- 
lous. I am persuaded no being whose cha- 
racter was not partially tinged by mad- 
ness could have been adequate to its ex- 
ecution. I have no desire now to spend 
my time in magnifying the wonders of it, 
and gratifying a miserable ambition with 
the shuddering praise of the strength of 
a demon's wino; in his flioht to mischief. 
1 have no intention of rehearsing my 
mental debates and toils, I merely pur- 
pose to tell tleir result. 

** JVfy first step was to pass into 
Turkey in Asia. I traversed' most of 
the countries of Asia Minor; I vi- 
sited Syria, I travelled into Persia^ 

VOL. III. T I crossed 

410 FATAL revenge; or, 

I crossed the Persian Gulf into 
' Aiabia. I traversed the continent of 
Arabia, and winding* along the shores 
of the Red Sea, passed into Egypt. I 
visited its upper and lower regions, and 
returning to Cairo, embarked for Eu- 
rope. An accident brought me to Candia, 
Avliere assuming the habit of a Greek 
monk, I went on board a veflfel then 
bound to Rhodes, but which finishing 
her voyage, left me in Sicily ; there out- 
wardly reconciling myself to the Catho- 
lic Communion, I procured a recom- 
mendation to the Superior of a convent 
in Naples, and returned to my native 

** I do not mean to give a detail of 
the sufferings of a solitary stranger in 
a progress of fifteen years, through coun- 
tries, fierce, lawless, and sanguinary. I 
acknowledge myself to have been almost 
constantly in a state of sufferance and 
danger, often in one of extremity. If 



it MTre asked by wliat means I escaped 
with life from such persecution, I so- 
lemnly declare I kno\\^ of none, except 
total poverty, a hardened constitu- 
tion, and a mind of desperation. A re- 
solution, the strongest that ever occu- 
pied a strong mind, was sustained by 
gigantic strength and hardihood of 
body, the fruit of my exile and my sa- 
vagery. My object in this long progress, 
was what no calamities could suspend, the 
study of tlie liuman character in its 
fiercer and gloomier features. Even a 
dungeon could shew me wardours, and 
torturers, and criminals. It will be ask- 
ed why did I seek a knowledge of the 
human character, where it subsists in a 
state so rude and unvaried, where igno- 
rance and oppression combine to forbid 
the expansion of elementary, or the ac- 
quisition of fictitious features, and to 
confine life to a .^vcary, unimproving mo- 
notony ? 

T 2 

*' T 

412 FATAL hevenge; or, 

*' I answer, my search was after that 
part of the human character, which is 
equally visible through all the modifica- 
tions of society, and the caprices of the 
individual, \vhich is equally discernible 
in the sav^age and in the sage, but which 
is generally marked by more strong and 
prominent lines in the ruder parts of 
life. My search was for the existence of 
superstition, in every form it assumes, 
and for every mode of influence that 
could be exercised on it, for the means 
by which that influence might be ac* 
quired, and the possible extremes to 
which the passion might be urged by 
art and terror. Had this search been 
pursued in Europe, the consequence 
might have been what I dreaded more 
than the sufferings I encountered in Asia 
and Africa, detention, examination, 
discovery ; perhaps an immersion into 
the Bastile in France, or an eternal con- 
signment to the dungeons of the Inqui- 
7 sitioa 


sltion in Spain or Italy. In Asia, if my 
existence was destroyed, my name and 
purpose would perish along with it. I 
should not be remembered as the man 
Avho only achieved a vast thought^ and 
died from the debility of its execution. 
Prom the first moment, I w^as convinced 
that superstition was my only enginCy the 
only instrument that could accomplish 
so great a purpose ; the only one that 
could be applied to its most minute, and 
its most operose parts alike; that could dis- 
sect the most subtle and capillary fibres of 
the human heart, and penetrate the iron 
fortresses of power; that could wrench 
the frame of nature, and f-porc with the 
varieties of the human character; that 
could make the virtuous consider a 
crime as a duty, and the vicious make a 
deity of a dream. This was the only 
foundation that could support the struc- 
ture that I purported to raise on it, \ 
remembered my own struggles and re- 

414 FATAL revenge; or, 

luctance, till something like a shadow- 
ing of fate stole over my mind, I remem- 
bered the wretched impostor that they 
brought to me at Eaix. 

*'The execution of my purpose, perhaps, 
was some protection to me, in countries 
whose wild inhabitants are yet deeply 
susceptible of the delights and the ter- 
rors of superstition. In Turkey, there- 
fore, I was a Grecian conjuror. Through 
Asia Minor and Syria I was one of thos« 
dervises whose supposed knowledge in 
secret studies is no obstruction to the 
sanctity of his person and profession. 
In Persia I was a Magian worshipper of 
fire, the most ancient superstition in the 
world.. In Egypt I was all these succes- 
sively, for in Egypt are mingled all the 
superstitions of the East. Among the 
vulgar I was a conjuror, but among the 
^deptfj only a novice ; nor in truth could 
I well he more, had I been versed in 
all the dark wisdom of Europe, Rosicru- 



cian, or Sully's, or Nostradamus, or Al- 
bertus Magnus's ; had I been a student 
in the wizard walls of Salamanca, I must 
have bowed to the wands of the Oriental 
and African sages. There are among 
these men, however ignorant both in 
physics and literary antiquity, some 
powers still existing of the most extra- 
ordinary kind. I am perfectly willing 
to ascribe the wonders they produce to 
causes merely natural, but still the effects 
are such as prove an acquaintance with 
the depths of nature, which the most 
erudite and studious European has not 
yet obtained. 

*' I mention as an instance, that pov/er 
of disarming serpents and noxious rep- 
tiles, possessed by some of the most 
ignorant and grovelling wretches I have 
ever met with in Egypt, a power which 
they pretend to exercise with spell and 
charm, but which when I acquired, I 
found to be attainable by means merely 


4l6 FATAL revenge; ok, 

physical. I mention these things mere- 
ly to intimate the line of operations I 
sought, and the powers I acqutred, amid 
the luxuries of nature, and the labours 
of art, the wonders of antiquity, or the 
magnificence of recent dominion ; in the 
mosque or in the cavern, the desert, or 
the Bazar, I pursued but one object; my 
labour was never remitted, nor mv te- 
nacity ever relaxed. 

^' It was in the spring of the year 
1689 I returned to Naples, my first 
object to inquire into the situatioH 
and characters of the family, my 
next to be introduced among them. I 
easily learnt the former, the Count was 
gloomy and solitary ; the family lived in 
retired grandeur ; the sons had many 
splendid qualities, but their minds were 
of the dark, superstitious complection of 
their house. The latter also was easy, 
for the Count had become a devotee. 
It M'lW perhaps be a matter of astonish- 
ment, that having arrived in my native 



city, and having means sufficient to prove 
my identity and my injuries, I did not 
prefer the substantial . compensation of 
my restored honours and enjoyments to 
a visionary and^bloody revenge. 

'* It will cease to astonish, when my 
story is read with more attention. It 
will be discovered that wi-th me, ambition 
was only the ornament of life, happiness 
and love, (however hostile to itheir softness 
my character may appear) were its sub' 
stance, its soul. My name, my dignity, 
were only the cupola that though raised to 
the summit, constituted the least neces« 
sary part of the pile of my happiness. 
For whom should I seek to be great r 
Was there another Erminia in the world ? 
Were my children's graves to be opened 
by the trumpet of a herald? They might 
be avenged, but never recalled. No; I 
saw, without a groan, the palace and 
castle built by my ancestors. I saw their 
jewels, their treasures, their magnificence 
T 3 spark- 

418 FATAL revenge; on, 

jsparkling round the forms of those who 
had undone me, 1 saw without a thought 
of resumption, but with a determination 
of revenge. Anjbition had not left a 
shadow on my mind, of love only the 
soul subsisted still ; but of revenge, both 
body and soul lived within mc, in a state 
of vigour and vitality, still capable of 
the most powerful functions, still impe- 
jiously demanding their sacrifice. From 
my own experience, I am convinced that 
revenge is the most long-lived of pas- 
sions. Could my brother have poured 
iit n^.y feet his palaces, his treasures, his 
iionours, could he have poured along 
with them, what was beyond the reach of 
human power to restore, my name, my 
peace, my mzvard dignities uncloudtd and 
undebased ; could he have done all this, 
I would have spurned it all. I had but 
one faculty, one passion, one appetite. 
My body was but a corporal vehicle for 



revenge, its spirit seemed to actuate me 
instead of a soul. 

'* Let those who wonder at the temerity 
of my undertaking, think on the requisites 
I possessed for its success, and the train 
of preparation those requisites had long 
been in. My body was as a bod}' of 
adamant ; my mind was capable of 
filling and directing the energies of 
such a frame; I was invincible to 
the fatigues of famine, of sleepless- 
ness, or of toil ; no difficulties could 
exhaust, no dangers could repel ; the 
world, its temptations, and its terrors 
were like dust beneath my feet. I pos- 
sessed a knowledge of the human tem- 
per, deep and accurate, together with 
a patience of caprices and anomalies, 
which only experience can teach. No 
sallies of violence could intimidate, no 
rigour of obduracy could weary me. 
With regard to the immediate means of 


420 TATAL RTYtliJGt; OR, 

effecting my purpose, iny mind or rather 
my memory was a perfect Thesaurus ter* 
ronrm. I had powers to confound the de- 
liberate, and to scare the bold. My body 
as well as mymind coiispiredwith my pur- 
pose. My figure was gigantic,'my counte- 
nance scarce bore resemblance to huma- 
nity, the intonations of my voice were 
like tlie roar of the storm and the cataract, 
it had been my delight in the rage of 
insanity to imitate ; and above all^ I 
possessed from memory a perfect know- 
ledge of secret passages, and subterra- 
nean recesses, both at Muralto and the 
palace at Naples ; these I had loved to 
explore when I was their inmate, from 
an enthusiastic passion for gloom and 
for antiquity. Such was the preparation. 
That I may not be thought to lay a chi- 
merical stress on the influence of su- 
perstition, I shall mention some circum- 
stances that occurred beyond the imme- 


diate range of my purpose. Amadeo, 
Duke di Monte Ceruli, was a libertine 
whom I had known in the earlier part of 
my life, about teii years previous to my 
marriage, when I was a gay Nobleman 
at Naples. I was with him and other 
Cavaliers at an assembly, upwards of 
thirty years ago; the conversation hap- 
pened, strangely enough, to turn on the 
existence of spirits; the subject was more 
congenial to my mind than the babble 
of levity, and I spoke on it with my ac- 
customed solemn energy. Monte Ceruli 
ridiculed the subject and the emphasis 
with which I spoke on it. I did not 
choose to altercate with such a trifler, 
and giving the conversation a ludicrous 
turn, proposed that we should enter into 
an engagement, that whoever died first, 
should appear to the survivor, as a pu- 
nishment for scepticism, or a confirma- 
tion of orthodoxy. He accepted it, 
laughing; but it was not with laughter he 


422 FATAL revenge; or, 

received the proof. When in the prose- 
cution of my plan, I appeared to Ip- 
poiito at Naples, while surrounded by 
a party of cavaliers, I observed Monte 
Ceruli among the number. When I had 
produced the effect of my visit, I re- 
treated behind the tapestry, where a con- 
cealed door communicated with a secret 
passage, through which I escaped while 
they were searching for me. This was a 
contrivance indeed easily detected, but I 
had chosen my time well, it was easy to 
disappear amid the confusion of terror 
and drunkenness. The party dispersed 
in every direction in pursuit of me ; as I 
was evading them, I met Monte Ceruli, 
who, of all the party was alone. lie 
detained me; I heard others approach- 
ing ; I dreaded discovery ; I dreaded at 
least the dissolution of my spiritual cha- 
racter. I unmasked, and addressed him 
in my own voice, which I had carefully 
concealed since my return to Naples, 



In its hollow and peculiar tones I told 
him I was the spirit of his departed com- 
panion. He fell to the ground insen- 
sible, and I am told continued so till his 
death. On the Duke di Pallerini, who 
was sent by the king (in consequence of 
a confession made by a dying domestic 
to a monk at Naples, but whicli involved 
nothing but general suspicions) to in- 
quire into the mysterious disappearance 
of the late possessor of the title, on him 
no such influence was attempted. I 
knew the inquiry would terminate in my 
brother's detection, and consequent pu- 
nishment, for I knew his own terrors 
would betray him, but thougli I had de- 
voted him to punishment, I determined 
by no one but me should it be inflicted. 
Callino- the Duke therefore to another 
apartmentj after adjimn^'.lliiji to secrecy, 
I discovered myself, and-pa^ayed the fu- 
tilily of a charge for the murder of one 
whom he beheld alive. It was owing to 



this resolution of reserving to mj^self the 
powers and mode of retribution, that a 
circumstance occurred, whose mystery is 
most dark and voluminous, and whose 
mystery can be disclosed only by me. I 
was (while yet a brother in the Franciscan 
convent,) returning from a pilgrimage to 
Rome, when a report which was diffused 
every where, met my ear, that a disco- 
very had been made by some dying man, 
to a monk in Apulia, relative t-o the fa- 
mily of Montorio, whose honours, whose 
very existence, it was said, was involved 
in its substance. 

By whom such a discovery could be 
made, (of which / believed myself the 
solitary possessor on the face of the 
earth,) was of less moment to inquire, 
than how to' obstruct its disclosure. I 
was resolved Jfehat'iii^lther tlie Inquisition 
nor the Vatican, no power, secular or 
spiritual, should wrest my victim from 
ine. The monk, it-^was reported, was on 



his journey to Rome, to procure an au- 
dience of the Pope. He travelled with 
all the inconsistency of fear in his pre- 
parations ; he was escorted by a strong" 
guard, yet affected to conceal his name 
and the motives of his progress. I had 
arrived on the close of my pilgrimage, at 
a town called Bellano, I understood there 
were a number of travellers at the inn, 
and I hastened there to receive some in- 
telligence on the subject. I found them 
engaged in discussing it ; a solitary, 
silent pilgrim, did not interrupt them. I 
was suffered to listen, and that was all 
I desired. I found that the monk v/as 
expected to pass the night at Bellano, 
on his journey. Many, whose business 
lay in other directions, had quitted them 
for a chance of meeting this man, about 
whom curiosity was thus vividly em- 
ployed, and all had agreed to sit toge- 
ther in the great hall till he arrived, if his 
arrival was delayed till morning. About 


A9.S FATAL revenge; or, 

midnight the monk came. He looked 
pale, weary, and terrified with his under- 
taking. He looked around suspiciously^ 
and dejectedly. I was the only person 
who wore the sacred habit in the com- 
pany, this accident determined his ad- 
dressing himself to me, and to this I owe 
the obstruction of his progress. He 
spoke confidentially, as one weary of the 
restraints of silence and secrecy, and 
glad to unburthen a weak mind of a dis- 
proportioned load. He acknowledged he 
Avas terrified by the importance and dan- 
ger of the commission imposed on him,— 
the ruin and probably the revenge of a 
powerful family. '* I would," said he, 
*' I were in my cell again, at the foot of 
the little wooden crucifix, beside my pal- 
let ; I am, however, safe to-night. I 
remember visiting this house before I 
took the vows ; there is a chamber of 
peculiar construction in it. I have no 
dread of assassin, or spy, or emissary of 



the IMontorio family, while sleeping in 
that chamber. I know not why, but 
my mind is wonderous heavy and fear- 
fid to-night." 1 endeavoured to en- 
courage him, and inquired the con- 
struction of the chamber he described. 
'^This house," said he, ^^ was formerly 
the haunt of robbers, who contrived in 
many of the aj3artments, devices for 
escape or conceahiient. In one of the 
chambers there is a trap-door, acted on 
by a spring, which is continued through 
the wall to the adjacent apartment ; be- 
neath it is a flight of spiral steps, hol- 
lowed in the wall, and communicating 
with subterranean vaults, of which the 
extent is unknown. Should I be dis- 
turbed by any apprehensions, I can im- 
merge myself beneath the trap-door, and 
remain there unsuspected, till all search 
or hope of my recovery had ceased.'* 
Childish as this expedient was, I ap- 
peared to approve of it, and by affecting 


428 FATAL revenge; <i)K, 

to doubt the principle of the construc- 
tion, led him to explain it sufficiently for 
my purpose. To that there was but one 
thing >y anting, — how to fix him in that 
part of the room where the construction 
of the trap-door might operate. To 
effect this, I stole to his chamber, and 
placed a small table, on which was a 
crucifix, on the very spot where the 
boards were disjoined. Weary and timid, 
the monk retired to his apartment, mine 
(to which the spring extended, and 
which he had intreated me to occupy for 
his security) was the adjacent one. I 
watched hira through a crevice of the 
wainscote, I saw him approach the fatal 
spot, and prostrate myself on it. At that 
moment I applied my hand to the spring, 
(which was only a sliding rope with a 
weight, and which made part of the fur- 
niture of the hangings) the trap-door 
opened beneath him, and I heard him 
plunge into the chasm wit:h a sudden- 


uess that prevented his last scream, if 
he uttered one, from being heard. Ne- 
ver was a project so critically com- 

He was swallowed up as by the earth 
opening her mouth ; not a vestige of 
him remained, when the trap-door was 
replaced. He was precipitated thKnigh 
the circular hollow down waich the stairs 
wound, to a vault of depth incalculable. 
Of the confe.=?sion, which he always caV" 
rled in his bosom, he assured me there 
w^as not another copy extant. Its sub- 
ject, therefore, had perished with him. 
The secret of the trap-door, he also in- 
formed me, was unknown to the pro- 
prietors, and confined to me and himself. 
This information proved to be sufficiently 
true, for among the inquiry and com- 
motion this strange event occasioned, 
no one suspected or examined the con- 
struction of the flooring. I was satis- 
fied to remain ignorant of the means and 


430 FATAL revenge; or, 

agent in this extraordinary confession. 
I was satisfied to let it moulder with the 
corse of him who bore it, since I had 
now extinguished the last gleam of light 
that the hands of stfrwgers had pre- 
sumed to throw on the gloomy secrets of 
our house. Am I asked Mdiether I felt 
no compunctious hauntings for the mur- 
der of an innocent man ? I answer, as 
much as a giant, who scales a mountain, 
feels for the insects he crushes in his 

" Shortly after this event, I entered 
into the Count's family as his confessor, 
and learned the characters of his sons. 
That was not indeed my first object, my 
.first was to find out the grave of Erminia 

and her children, and there But I 

will not violate the sacredness of my suf- 
ferings ; I will not, for they would not, 
if disclosed, be believed. No one would 
ascribe human feelings to me; no one 
could believe 7?ie capable of sorrow. I 



would not have mentioned the subject 
but that the circumstances of my nightly 
penance there are connected with the 
events of my story. 

*' The brothers I discovered were of 
different characters. The elder, who re- 
sided at Naples, was volatile and impetu- 
ous ; the younger, dark and deliberate. 
Perhaps those who think they have sa- 
tiated wonder with my depravity, will 
still wonder that I should determine to 
sacrifice both, I understood, that united 
in the strictest friendship, they were in- 
accessible to the rest of the family. 
Had I assailed either separately, as their 
confidence was unbounded, the inter- 
ference of the other would have frustrated 
my purpose ; but as they held no com- 
munication with the rest of the family, 
their mutual confidence could only in- 
crease their mutual fear. 

" Worlds should not bribe me to a 
detail of the devices by which I subdued 


432 FATAL revenge; or, 

the intellects and integrity of these 
youths to my purpose. AVorlds did I 
say ! — What in the reach of imagination 
could prevail with me to retrace those 
images of wickedness and horror, hut 
the vindication of my victitiis ? Yes, 
their vindication ; their vindication 
Avhich I now pursue with ten thousand- 
fold the devotion I once did their ruin. 
What hut that could make me proclaim 
these mysteries of iniquity ? What but 
that could 7nake me live to proclaim them ? 
I will prove it as plain, as palpable as 
day light ; it was impossible for mere 
human nature to evade or to resist tlie 
snares the subtlety of my vengeance had 
"wound around them. Around them! — 
Whom? — But soft, if possible — not many 
hours remain to me. 

** As soon as I understood their diffe- 
rent characters, I commenced my as- 
saults. Th( if distance from each other 
was an advantage to me; their different 



situations suggested different modes 
of temptation to me. Ippolito, who 
was in the concourse of a populous city, 
I determined to subdue by the force 
of spectacle and sensible representation, 
mixed with something of astrological 
jargon, to which I knew he was addicted. 
Annibal I devoted to the influence of 
sohtary terror, and the supposed incum- 
bency of a task assigned him by a spiri- 
tual agent: strong means to prevail with 
the inmate of an ancient castle, whose 
mind was gloomy, and whose sense of 
duty was rigid an-d inflexible. 

Over Annibal, my influence was in a 
great measure anticipated by his own rest- 
less ness and solicitude, the uneasy effer- 
vescence of a vigorous mind, wasting it- 
self in gloom and solitude. I heard him 
questioning an old domestic named Mi* 
chelo, whom I remembered to have seen 
in other days, but the remembrance 
woke no kindliness in me now. I found 
VOL. III. u Annibal 

434- FATAL revenge; oa, 

Aniiibal so intent on his inquiries, and 
the old man so contrary to all m}' expec- 
tations, so well prepared to satisfy them, 
that dreading the anticipation of my 
•purpose, from the increasing importuni- 
ties of one and the feeble reserve of the 
other, I interfered, and privately forbad 
Michelo to communicate with the Signor 
any further. Whether my earnestness 
betrayed a resemblance to sounds and 
features, ^lichelo must have remembered ; 
or whether it was the weakness of a mind 
broken with age and superstition, I know, 
not; but it is certain, that from the 
hour Michelo received this intimation, 
he ceased to believe me a human being; 
his terrors, thougli they secured his 
confidence, preyed on his health, and I 
have to number this unhappy among my 
involuntary victims. If indeed he sus- 
pected me to be my former self, his pe- 
netration, or his memory, were beyond 
those of my own brother, or all who 



bad ever knoM^n or remembered me ; yet I 
do not think my travels, my hardships, 
my sufferings, any thing, had altered 
me effectually, till my heart and disposi- 
tion underwent that change that surpass- 
ed the impressions of all. 

Meanwhile my toils closed rapidly round 
Annibal : the tomb of Erminia, which I 
visited every night; her coffin, which, ia, 
pursuance of a rigid penance- vow, I ting- 
edevery night with my blood ; witnessed 
strange encounters : — Sometimes they 
watched me as I wandered thither with 
my lonely lamp, which they believed to 
be borne by no earthly hand ; and some- 
times they pursued me into the vault, 
whence they retired, shuddering with 
visionary horrors, and often besmeared 
with my blood. 

I was in the habit of visiting the 

apartments of Ernunia, they had been 

deserted since her death, and I visited 

through avenues known only to myself, 

u S in 

45tf FATAL PcEVENGK; oil, 

in undisturbed solitude and security. — 
One evening while I was gaziiig on the 
bloody traces that marked the floor where 
Verdoni fell, I heard steps ajproaching. 
I had scarce time to conceal myself be- 
hind the tapestry, when Annibai and 
Michelo entered ; I was at fiist in^pelled 
to start fV)ith, and scare them into flight ; 
but reflecting, that whatever increased 
the infhience oi supersniioi), established 
mine, I contrived, by looking through a 
rent in the tapestry, whicli represented 
a figure in the act of pointing, and by 
comnnin icati ng (o iJs arm, the motion of 
mine, to impel tljem to a search which 
discovered tlie body of Verdoni. It had 
been interred in a recess of the wall by 

On another occasion, on entering the 
ruined chapel, which nightly witness- 
ed my terrible orisons ; I found Anni- 
bal and Michelo already there. I ex- 
tinguished my lamp, and attempted to 
escape into the v^ult; Michelo con- 


fused and in the dark, obstructed me; 
with a nervous grasp, I seized, dragged 
him in with me, and closed the iron 
grate. Annibal hastened to the castle 
for assistance. During this interval, I 
addressed ■ my prisoner in tlie hollow 
tones of death ; I reproved his presump- 
tion, and darkly intimated those dis- 
asters which I was preparing for the 
house of Montorio. The old man listened 
to me in terror, and died the next day of 
the fears of superstition, and the dread of 
being involved in the punishment of 
crimes, he suspected too justly. 

About this period, the monk to whom 
Michelo had made his dying confession 
thought the suspicions it contained too 
momentous to be suppressed, he there- 
fore communicated tliem to his superior, 
who laid them before the king, by whom 
the Duke di Pallerini was dispatched, to 
inquire into the disappearance of the 
late Count of Montorio, his wife Er- 


438 FATAL revenge; or, 

niinia cli Araaldi, and their children. — 
How this terminated with regard to the in- 
quiry, is already well known ; with regard 
to njy victim Annihal, its conclusion was 
momentous indeed. I did not think him 
falling into my snares with sufficient 
facility; I required to have him more 
in my own power, that he should look 
more to me as the proper agent of the 
wonders he had witnessed or imagined. — 
I effected my purpose unsuspected. On 
the Duke di Pallerini's approach to the 
castle, I was commissioned by my bro- 
ther, (from whom I had never concealed 
my knowledge of his guilt, and who 
also viewed me with a kind of shadowy 
fear.) to remove the mouldering corse 
of Verdoni, lest the Duke, the extent 
of whose information they could not con- 
jecture, should direct his search thither* 
I entered the apartments, removed the 
corse, and retiring left the passages open. 
I bore the remains of Verdoni to my 



closet, where I believe they xvere seen by 
Ajinihars servant^ Filippo, whose curio- 
sity was at least sufficiently piinislied by 
meeting me in the close oF evening, with 
tlie skeleton in my arms which I was 
about to convey to a vault at the extre- 
mity of the passage I was traversing; 
I perceived this fellow, vvho was bold and 
curious, followed me, I raised the carrion 
head above my cowl, and he fled in 

On that night, Annibal repaired again 
to the forbidden apartments; I inform- 
ed the Count of his son's dangerous 
spirit of discovery, and led him to the 
spot. Tbe criminals were confined ; this 
was what I wished. On a mind weakened 
]>y loneliness and fear, I believed miy 
influence would be resistless. Not easily 
convinced or subdued, Annibal long- 
resisted the an ay of terrors I spread be- 
fore him ; I mingled opiates with his 
food that I migiit enter his prison un- 
perceived, I screamed in boding and un« 


440 FATAL revenge; or^ 

earthly tones in the passages of the tower, 
I told him a tale, that while it strongly 
referred to the strange objects he had 
recently witnessed, terminated in the 
terrible event to which it was my pur- 
pose to lead him. Still he resisted, 
though he resisted more feebly. I con- 
ceived another plan. I appeared to 
accede to a plan proposed by the Count, 
to remove him by poison. I prepared 
an opiate of an extraordinary power, 
for among the secrets of which 1 had 
acquired the knowledge in the East, 
those of pharmacy and philtre had not 
been forgotten. The operation of this 
I knew would be sufiiciently strong to 
deceive his father Vv^th the expected re- 
semblance of death ; and while it con- 
tinued, I purposed to convey him to the 
vaults of the castle ; where, remote from 
all influence but mine, I believed he 
would cease to resist that influence 



His prison was not sufficiently g'loomy, 
nor were his spirits properly subdued for 
my purpose. 

The plan was defeated by the dex- 
terity of Filippo, who contrived to ad- 
minister to me the opiate I had prepared 
for his master, and. during its effect, 
drew from my vest the keys of the pas^ 
sage through, which I had intended to 
convey him. They escaped from the 
castle, nor when I recovered was I 
sorry for their escape, I knew I should 
overtake them, and when I did, the 
terror which the appearance of one they 
must believe inmUiterahle by poison, would 
excite, I knew would be more than a 
balance for the suspension q'( my in- 
fluence during the interval of their flight 
But the Count was not so easily recoiii- 
ciled to the escape of the fugitives. Spies 
were em ployed, • . and immense- rewards 
circulated for their discovery clandestine- 
ly; these were, at length successful about 
the time that Aunibal on bis progress 
u 3 to 

442 FATAL tlEVE'^GE; OR, 

to Puzzoli, paused at a village where 
circumstances beyond the reach of con- 
jecture detained him. 

The influence I had obtained over the 
mind of the Count, was mixed and e*xtra« 
ordinary. — My austerities, my superhu- 
man abstinence ctnd contempt of fatigue, 
and pain, and watching, had raised me 
to the highest pitch of his estimation as a 
devotee. For my interference between his 
danger and the requisitions of Pallerini, 
he felt a kind of visionary gratitude, and 
there were other facts of my character, 
that mingled awe and wonder with the 
controtil I held over him. He perceived 
that I was perfectly possessed not only 
of those dark events whose secrecy he 
hatl believed inaccessible, but of almost 
every other pai^t of his life; these 
subjects were therefore spai^ed in our con- 
versations by a kind ♦of silent compro- 
mise. They were referred to, but nc?t 
spoken of; he heard me hint my know- 
^ hdge 


ledge of tliem without starting, but he 
could not bear to speak of them himself. 
He certainly regarded nie as a being not 
of this world, his mind, weakened by 
the perpetual harassings of guilt and 
danger, reposed on the idea of a vision- 
ary protector; and timid and jealous of 
its security^ pleased itself with the 
thought of' employing a secret and 
resistle^ minister of death. Hence he 
w^ould at one time employ me as an 
assassin without remorse; and at another, 
consult me as a saint, without super- 
stition ; for w^here the human character 
is not supposed to exist, human guilt 
vanishes also. Believing me one to whom 
all things were known, he ceased to have 
any compunctious reserve'; and believing 
me one to whom almost all things were 
possible, he called on me without hesita- 
tion, for tliat assistance which he believed 
could be conferred by me without a cri isCc 
Such was the influence I had acquired 
over a man agitaied by the fears ot im- 



Steady guilt, and the anguisli of imperfect 
penitence, sanguinary from the dread of 
discovery, and superstitious from the ex- 
perienced -erosions of conscience, anxious 
to retain what had been acquired by blood, 
3^et desirous to combine the pardon of 
guilt ^vith its security. Such was tl>e 
influence 1 was solicitous to acquire, 
the utmost extent of my vengeance 
was to the limits of this world. Men 
may smile at these illusions of romiantic 
revenge, but it is certain that while I 
devoted him to death, I led him a 
pilgrimage of saintly preparation to it, 
while no power could wrest my victim 
from me, or buy from me one of his 
dying groans. I prayed, I watched, I 
wept with him I sentenced the sinner, 
but I tried to save the |)enitenc. 

** I will now rehearse the more dark 
and complicated m(ans resorted to with 
Ippolito. I discovered^ what in Naples 
is easilx discoverable, a number of those 
wretches who, under various denomina- 


tions, profess to hold converse with ano- 
ther world. To these I told a tale suffi- 
ciently plausible, and what was more 
plausible, I told them out handfuls of 
gold. The liberality or the superstition 
of the Count had supplied me abundantly. 
My plan required the aid of numbers, 
and it required a diversity and costliness 
of preparation, and of all most difficult, 
it required that my victim should not be 
mideceived by the vulgar rapacity of my 
associates, which I satisfied clandestinely 
myself. My first application to Ippolito 
was in the jargon of his favourite study. 
On this and many other occasions, the 
darkness of my habit, and the in con- 
ceival)le swiftness of my motions, be- 
friended the obscurity I affected. Afters- 
wards I concealed myself in- the confes- 
sional of a church, whither I had led 
him, and which I knew hati a private 
recess, and left hin-i with the belief that 
1 had melted into the elements. Aaother 
time I led him to a vault, where lay a 


446 FATAL R*:vE]srGT: ; oh, 

body from whose mortal fate I wished to 
sucfsrest to him his own. 


*' At all times, by my knowledge of 
the passages of the palace, I had oppor- 
tunities of leaving letters in his apart- 
ment, and once of entering it wliile he 
was there, where my shewing a family 
ring, and telling a mysterious story of 
its last possessor, contributed not a little 
to hi-s wonder and perplexity. At length ^ 
when I believed him sufficiently impressed 
Avith fantastic notions of my character^ 
and agency, I led him to a subterranean 
vault, where the disguises of my asso- 
'ciates, the quaint solemnity of our lan- 
guage, the blue and vaporous light that 
played on objects not to be described, 
displayed every device whose influence 
could abuse or witch the senses or the 

But 'I discovered in both my vic- 
tims that whatever facility they be- 
trayed to the admission of gloomy and 
fantastic impressions, they both revolted 



with equal abhorrence of insulted inte- 
grity from the aid those impressions were 
designed to lead to. Ippolito, impetuous 
and eccentric as he was pure and noble^ 
would never have been in tangled but in 
a web of wickedness so fine and intricate, 
that human strength could not bear its 
powers unhurt from its witching hold. 
By the skill of one of our associates, an 
exact model of the faces of Ippolito and 
the Count was procured in wax ; they 
ivere moulded into masks, and the former 
was assumed by another, who was in 
figure strikingly like Ippolito. This man, 
placing himself in a recess of the vault 
where I led my victim, represented by 
his gestures reflected in a shaded mirror, 
the anguish of a mind impelled to an in- 
voluntary crime ; at the moment that Ip- 
polito, touched by a gloomy sympathy, 
bent over the mirror, the man uncovered 
^his mask, and Ippolito beheld his living 

'' The 


** The solicitude thus excited was aug^ 
niented by delay and dramatic illusions, 
till no longer master of his intellects, and 
scarce retaining his turbid and confused 
perceptions, he M^as led into another 
vault, and told that to obtain the know- 
ledge he required, he must propitiate the 
spirit of the night by shedding the blood 
of a naked and unresisting victim, who 
was bound on an altar, dimly seen in 
the darkness of. the vault. I remember 
hi& resistance too well. At length by 
the temptation of that fatal thirst of in^ 
visible knowledge which constituted the 
whole wonder of my influence (the engine 
by which I could wrest the whoUe moral 
world), he was induced to, plunge his 
poinard into the breast of a wa.vcrt image^ 
Avhich spouted out blood upon his hands, 
and from which withdrawing the cover- 
ing, 1 disclosed the face q\^ his J at her. 

/' From tliat moment he was sealed 
and set apart as mine. He never could 



expel from his conscience the stain of 
imaginary blood , he never could expel 
that nameless dread that whispered if the 
object he had mangled was not the living 
and corporal frame of hrs father, it must 
be an inmate of that world which is peo*- 
pled with shadowy resemblances of this. 
This conjecture confirmed the visionary 
povrer of those who could summon suck 
appearances, that power verified its own 
predictions, and its predictions annouu^ 
ced that he should perish as the assassin 
of his father. From that time I pursued 
him into crowds as well as society, per- 
petually reminded him of the midnight 
liour, perpetually held up to him the 
gory weapon ; and found, from his fail- 
ino- resolution, that even the influence of 
superstition may be darkened and deep- 
ened by the consciousness of guilt 

" In a short time he fled from my per- 
secutions ; he quitted Naples. This event 
I had expected from his impetuosity*, 


450 FATAL retknge; Olf, 

and made sufficient provision for it. T 
had diffused every where his im- 
prudence had assisted nne in diffusing, 
reports of his nightly wanderings, and 
of his being mated in some horrible league 
with unblessed souls. The report spread 
around him an atmosplicre of moral pesti- 
lence ; every one shrunk from his pre- 
sence, while the terrors that attended 
the suspicion >of his presence gave to his 
progress a notoriety that marked every 
step he took, even to the distance of 
Muralto. At this period, by the way- 
ward flight of my victims, they were 
both conducted, though unconsciously, . 
to spots so near each other, that my 
double agency was easily united. 

1 he Count's confidence in powers which 
he believed were not. those of a mortal mi- 
nister, now compelled me to leave the cas- 
tle. He had received from the; abbess of 
a convent, whose name I now forget, 
but which was destroyed in the Jate com- 



motions of the earth, a letter acquainting 
'him that the novice Ildefonsa Mauzolij 
who had alwaj^s shewed the utmost re* 
luctance to assume the veil, liad in con^ 
sequence of an accident heeu seen by a 
young cavalier, who she understood was 
his son, and by whose sudden and im- 
petuous passions not only her profession 
was delayed, but even her release insisted 
on. She added, that Ildefonsa's resolu- 
tion had been confirmed by the presump- 
tion of her lover, who, it was easy to 
discover, had made his professions of 
love and liberation but too acceptable to 

The Count, on receiving this in- 
telligence, evinced a distraction that 
amazed me ; I could scarce pacify him 
by my promises to hasten to the spot, 
and mar the dreams of the lovers. This 
I had at all ev-ents intended, as this was 
the period I intended to convince my 
victims no distance of space could shelter 
them from me. 

4!>^ FATAL reven-ge; ok, 

*' In the interval of my hurried depar- 
ture, the Count had hut time to acquain't 
me, that Ildefonsa Mauzoli was the icri- 
owned child of Erminia and Verdoni, who 
had been brought up in the sohtude of a 
convent, auvl whom he had devoted to 
the veil,, though in vain. He adju-i'ed 
me to hasten and prevent by the mos^ 
decisive 7nea.mres the event of this disas- 
trous passion, of which it was easy to see 
he dreaded more thanche. disclosed of 
mischief and horror^ -; ' 

I left Muralto^ and when I saw 
Ildefonsa, was convinced nothing but 
her final separation from Annibal could 
again place him in my power. She 
was the picture of her mother; I 
dreaded. her be-!uty,\ I dreaded her ex- 
cellencies,^ Lcneaded those bland and 
-balmy influences which innocence and 
love must produce on the most corroded 
mind. 1 felt that Annibal, in her arms, 
would waive from my persecutions as 
from a horrid vision- I determined she 



should (lie. Sucli was the Count's fleter- 
luinarion., and the abbess, wearied and 
provoked by her opposition, acceded rea- 
dily. . /. I ' » . 'ni t:.;^ 

In my journey to the convent, I 
heard that Bellano, the phice where the 
unfortunate monk had perislied with his 
confession, was not a mile from the con- 
vent ; it was now deserted and destro^'ed, 
rendered almost a waste by indigen^^e and 
superstition. 'I'liis intelligence suggested 
to me a new and singular resolution. I de- 
termined to visit it, to explore the vault 
into which the monk had been precipi- 
tated, and possess myself of the papers 
tiiat mouldered there with his corse. In 
the event of a jjublic deveiopement await- 
ing my putpose and chaiactcr, I knew 
these pape lis might render me essential 
service. The approach to a place shunned 
by all was probably safe and easy, and as 
the abbess informed me there were vaults 
beneath the convent in the direction of 
Bellano, with the extent of which no 


inmate of either was acquainted, I sus- 
pected a communication between them, 
and the immense and unexi>lored wind:- 
ings into which the subterranean pasn^ 
sages at Bellano spread. 

I set out from the convent in the 
evening, and, lost in musing, wandered 
from my way, till looking round me, 
I beheld a range of mountain and 
rock I had never seen before. I 
was about to retrace my path, when 
near me extended at the foot of a 
tree, I beheld Ippolito. I determined 
to improve this accident. I approached, 
addressed him, and then bounded away 
into a woody dell, so tangled and intri- 
cate, that it defied all his attempts to 
penetrate. On emerging into the open 
country, I perceived him still pursuing 
nie, and was compelled again to change 
the direction I had adopted to avoid him; 
for it was the policy of my influence to 
render it rare and solemn. I stopped at 
a town where I guessed he wopld follow 



mCj and where, after dropping some 
mysterious hints of the character of my 
pursuer, I desired he should be told I 
had proceeded to Bellano. Thither he 
followed me ; and there, though im- 
peded by the interruptions of him and 
his servant, I descended into the cavity, 
and found amid the decayed orarments of 
my victim, who had been dashed in 
pieces by his fall, the important papers I 

Ippolito followed me into the vault, 
as I expected ; my purpose in leading 
^him to Bellano had been to amaze with 
a wild and magic display of powers that 
seemed to mock the bounds of space 
and matter, sometimes to ^kim the air, 
and sometimes to dive into the entrails 
of earth. When I had eifected this, 
I glided away, and through passages 
which I had explored previous to his de- 
scent, I regained the cemetery of the 
convent of St. Ursula. I entered the 
chapel, time enough to discover that my 


4SB TATAL hevenge; ok, 

plan had succeeded. Ildefonsa, to whom 
a strong opiate had been administered, 
was extended on a bier, and after a 
tumult of unavailing opposition, she was 
borne yet insensible to the cemetery, 
where I left her with a villain of firmer 
hand than myself Where extinguished 
humanity had never awoke a throb, the 
resemblance of Erminia made me — I will 
not say what; I will not pollute this page 
with a human tear. 

^' During the interval previous to Ilde- 
fonsa's imaginary death, Annibal's resort 
to the convent had given me opportu- 
nities almost undisturbed of renewing 
Riy persecutions. Agitated by unhappy 
love, and terrified by the unaverted 
hauntings of a being whom (supposed) 
poison could not destroy, Annibal's vir- 
tue or his patience hesitated almost to 
yielding. But my business was now with 

'* In the commotions of that night he 



had been wafted down the river, and the 
next day he entered Pozzoli, I know not 
with what purpose. I followed him un- 
perceived, and the accidental mention 
of an absurd tradition suo^gested a plan, 
in the event of which Ippolito was utter* 
ly subdued. 

** While I was revolving this plan, t 
perused the papers which I had found 
in the vaults of Bellano ; they ex* 
plained the mystery of the confessroii* 
Ascanio, whom I had pursued from the 
rock, and seen plunging in the waters, 
bruised and mangled had crawled to a 
•cavern on the shore. Fishermen, coast- 
ing along the iste, found him the next 
morning ; and half through compassion, 
half through curiosity, brought him to 
their habitation, and tended him till his 
recovery, if it could be called so. AVhile 
he lay in anguish on his bed of straw, he 
was visited, like many others, with that 
compunction which suffering produces. 
He determined to disburthen his con- 

voL. III. X science 

45S FATAL revenge; OH, 

science of crimes that had only brought 
him misery, and still Aveak and suffering, 
contrived to return to Italy. Here his 
wounds exasperated by fatigue, and his 
aiiental anguish increased by the terrors 
of immediate death, his reason failed 
him, and escaping from his companions, 
lie wandered a maniac in the forests of 
Apulia till nature was exhausted, and he 
expired in the cottage of a peasant, hav- 
ing made his confession .in the short in- 
terval of recovered reason. This docu- 
ment I enclose ; it will serve with others 
to identify my narrative. I hasten on. 

*' I have now but little to disclose, except 
the device which subdued I ppolito finally 
to my power. I assumed a lay disguise, 
and told a plausible tale to the principal 
inquisitor at Pozzoli. I informed him 
that a most direful suspicion brooded 
over the character of a cavalier of the 
Montorio family, who was at that time 
in Pozzoli, and of whom it became the 



holy office to take immediate cognizance. 
I informed him, that betrayed by acci- 
dent into his subterranean haunts, I had 
observed there an inscription, of which 
a copy was extant in the cathedral church 
at PozzoH (this was sufficiently true, for 
I had myself copied it as one of the deco- 
rations of our infernal scenery). I pro^ 
posed, therefore, that he should be led 
by some unsuspected contrivance to the 
spot, where persons stationed for the 
purpose might note his emotions at the 
sight. To render it more striking, the 
characters were illuminated with vivid 
traces resembling blood. A number of 
gazers crowded to the spot, and his un- 
equivocal tokens of amaze and conscious- 
ness were witnessed by many who were 
uninterested in observing and reporting 
them. The success of this expedient was 
decisive; he was immured in the Inqui" 
sit ion, where under the character of a 
person whose influence might lead him 
X 2 to 

%B0 FATAL revenge; ©r, 

to confession, I had uninterrupted ac- 
cess to hira. To render him stationary 
was the great object, another was to 
exhaust his resistance by the weariness 
of soHtude and perpetual persecution. 

" In the lueau while my agents were 
busily employed in the discovery of An- 
nibal, whom at length they traced, liy 
means of his servant, to a wild hut in 
the windings of the wood. I commu- 
nicated my information to the Count, 
who, in the rage of fear, commanded 
me immediately to seize and send them 
to the castle, where it was likely they 
would not be suffered to disturb him 
long. Of the fate of Ippolito he was 
perfectly careless. His injunctions, so 
far as they coincided with my own pur- 
poses, I resolved to adhere to, yet the 
discovery of Annibal's movements was 
not easy. The ruffians I employed, though 
hardened in horrors, recoiled from visiting 
a haunt which was said to be the abode 



of a departed spirit, and I was myself 
compelled to perform the parts of spy 
and tempter at once ; in the former I 
believe I was detected by the loss of my 

*' Meantime my persecutionof Ippolita 
was suspended by a commotion of the 
earth, which demolishing the tower m 
which he was confined, liberated him. 
He made his escape on board a vessel 
which was crowded with fugitives for Si- 
cily. The rage of the elements agaia 
threw him on the shore, where I, stood 
anticipating the wreck of the vessel. I 
need not tell of his frenzied and con- 
vulsive submission to a power which he 
believed had controuled the elements. 
I led him to a retreat I had prepared, 
where he was soon joined by his brother, 
whose flight from the forest had been 
intercepted by ruffians I had pro- 
vided, and a guide I had corrupted. I 
lamented his escape to the Count; the 
lady was carried to the castle. 

'' Amid 

462 FATAL revenge; ok, 

*' Amid these horrors can it be believed 
that I feel compassion for the fate of this 
gentle, illfated woman r The Count, on 
beholding her, felt a long extinguished 
passion for her mother revive. To gra- 
tify a romantic illusion of posthumous 
passion, slie \yas arrayed in fantastic 
splendour by the Count, and to appease 
fear and jealousy, wa-s poisoned by his 

I hasten on ; I seem to myself to 
cleave billows of blood, and push away, 
as I proceed, the red and weltering tides 
with either hand. I introduced my vic- 
tims into the castle at night. The hour 
approached. The persecution that had 
depraved their reason, and blasted their 
existence, was no longer to be resisted. 
The hour, which nothing could retard or 
avert, approached rapidly. The Count, 
lestiess under the burden of added guilt, 
and augmented fear, (the blood of Ilde- 
fonsa^ and the supposed flight of Anni- 


bal) liad sent for me repeatedly in the 
course of that awful term ; to facilitate 
my purpose, and prepare him for its 
event, I enjoined him an hour o^ solitary 
penance. I was again sent for by the 
miserable man. Agitated by the sus- 
pension of my purpose, I was about to 
break from him when he called me 

'* * You are acquainted with my 
guilt,' said he, *' but not with its pal- 
liations ; I have a secret reserve of ex- 
piation, a hold of hope and refuge for 
some years. Amid the mass of murders 
that stained our souls, we hesitated to 
shed the innocent blood of infancy. The 
children of my brother were discovered 
in the cottage where they had been con- 
veyed by their faithful attendant from 
the massacre of their parents. They 
were discovered, but they w^ere spared ; 
we purposed to rear them in obscurity 
and safety. All the first children of mi/ 



viarriage perished. TeiTified at a cala- 
mity, which our smitten consciences in- 
terpreted as a judgment, and willing 
to purchase the security of our bloody 
honours by an act which was pleasant to 
the vacancy of natural love, we de- 
termined to rear the children of my bro- 
ther, and to restore to them indirectly 
their lineal dignities* With the natural 
diffidence of villainy, I concealed this 
from Ascanioi I even in my letters ac- 
quainted him- they were dead, but ip- 
pollto and Annihal are not my childixriy 
they are the orphans of my brother,'' 

** I heard him ; I heard all ; they were my 
fnvn children— my own children, whom I 
had persecuted, corrupted, destroyed, 
tempted to murder, plunged in infamy, 
hurried to death ; they zvere my ozvn 
children f The deed was yet undone ; I 
flew to my children's feet to suspend it ; 
I could not speak ; I could not say — 
^ Hold ! ye are my children.' I gasped, 

I writh-K 


I writhed, I howled in speechless agony, 
but I had not power to utter a sound of 
human lano-uasje. Thev broke from me i 
I fell senseless at their feet ; they rushed 
to the cha.mber of imaginary parricide. 
When I recovered my faculties, when I 
dragged my spent limbs after them, my 
ehildren reere murderers ! 

** What their father had impelled them 
to, could now be neither prevented nor 
concealed. Worlds could not buy again 
the moment in which the blow was 
struck ; but worlds shall consume away 
before he who impelled, shall finish its 
expiation. I have now no words, no 
voice of supplications ; I cannot for ray 
soul, whine, or beg, or bend like others ;: 
all my powers are collected into one cry,, 
deep and piercing, and exceeding bitter, 
* spare my children !' 

** I do not adjure compassion, I' ap- 
peal to justice. They arc not criminals^ 
frenzy is not criminal. Their intellects 
X 8 'wercL 

466 FATAL revenge; ORy 

were extinguished ; fatigue and sleeps 
lessness, and visionary horrors, and all 
the train of devilish enginery that I had 
brought against them, had impaired the 
iio])lest frame of faculties that ever was 
a])used by the wit or malice of devils. 
They are not criminals ; they were im- 
pelled beyond all power of human re- 
sistance ; the wisest and most upright 
of you that sit there to judge them, so 
wrought on and beset, would have been 
a maniac or a murderer. How often 
have I, with the passions of a demon, 
beheld them with astonishment ! How 
often have I admired the glorious strug- 
gles of their indignation, the convulsions 
of their virtue 1 And they were my chil- 
dren ! And all good angels slept \ No 
monitory whisper, no inward shivering 
told me to pause ! Their innocence, 
their friendship, exclusi^^ and strong, 
their distance and dissimilarity from all 
the children of my brother, struck me 



no start of doubt, no thrill of conjee^ 
tiire ! — No ! no ! 

w ^ w Tp W 

** To be restored to my wife, my 
children, myself 2ig^m, could not have 
bribed me to outlive this discovery ; but 
for them, and their vindication, I have 
done it. 1 intended to have o-one off in 
the dark cloud of my purpose, mocking 
the wonder of mankind, and shrouding 
my retreat in the eternal train of shadowy 
fear and gloomy remembrance. But I 
am compelled to cast itt)ff, and to stand- 
bare and shrinking in the eye of man- 
kind, I am compelled to say, I am the 
miserable Count of Montorio, the mi- 
serable husband, the most miserable of 
fathers. I am compelled to say this, 
but 1 will at least not say it like other 
men. No, I provoke, I solicit punish- 
ment. Bury me under manacles, ma- 
cerate me with your tortures, let every 


468 FATAL revenge; or, 

liour bdng. more than the pangs of deaths 
yet let me be many hpurs dying. 

*' I feel my cwmes deserv^e it ; I am 
a monster, beneath whom tlie earth 
groans. To one demon passion I have- 
sacrificed the whole of existence ; in 
revenge I butchered Verdoni, in revenge 
I murdered my wife, in revenge I — Oh 1 
let me not say — I have destroyed my 
innocent sons. I have been sated with 
revenge, and let rjevenge be now sated on 

*' Oh ! my sweet, noble boys 1 Can 
it be nature that springs up in a heart so 
blasted as mine? The thoughts of ye 
flow over its avenues so parched and 
flinty, like the first fell of Heaven's dew 
on the desert, long waste and waterless I 
Thoughts so new and dear, impulses so 
fresh, hopes like the first hours of vernal 
life, all must be extinguished ;— though 
my children are spared, they are not 
spared to their father! Their miserable 



father must not see them live I Yet live, 
my children, though not for me. — I dare 
not, I will not think. — Oh 1 let me not 
be sent from the world as I have lived 

in it, cursing and despairing 1" 

# * # * * 

This paper enclosed the confession of 
Ascanio and other, and equally valid 
documents of consequence. It was read 
with astonishment, but could neither be 
disputed nor distrusted. The Court sat 
late, but as almost every point of inquiry 
had been anticipated by the Count's 
memorial, they sat rather to indulge their 
amazement in copious debate. It was 
resolved, however, immediately to secure 
the person of the Countess, to take pos- 
session of the estates and castle of the 
family in the name of the King, and 
to summon from tlie Abruzzo, a woman 
named Teresa Zanetti, sister to the at- 
tendant of the Countess Erminia ; but 
^he had anticipated the summons of the 


470 FATAL revenge; or, 

Court. She had lieard, though imper- 
fectly, of the direful events in the Mon- 
torio family, and ascribing them with 
the prompt application of guilt, to the 
secret she had so iniquitously preserved, 
she hasted to Naples, to make a con- 
fession while yet she had the power of 
making it *oolmitarily. Her testimony 
was full and clear ; she related that on 
the nioht of the Countess Erminia's 
death, her sister, liesperia Zanetti, pale 
and distracted, had rushed into her cot- 
tage, in a forest, a few miles from Mil- 
ralto ; that she had scarce breath to hint 
that her lady had perished by violence, 
and to implore shelter and safety for the 
two children she bore in her arms, when 
exhausted by fatigue and strong emotion 
she expired. Teresa amazed and ter- 
rified, yet forbore to take any measure 
for the preservation of the children, till 
Ascanio tracing the flight of the too 



faithfLiI Hesperia, discovered them in 
Teresa's cottage. Whether his employers 
were weary of carnage, or averse from^ 
the^ murder of infants, his instructions 
were to spare the children, bat to secure 
the secrecy of the woman. This was too 
easily effected ; the woman dreaded their 
vengeance and coveted their gold; and 
when, some years afterwards, the children 
were substituted for two sons of the 
Count who had lately died, she con- 
ceived the restoration to their paternal 
honours was an abundant compensation 
for the concealment of their real pa- 

This awful history of human passions 
was now fully unfolded ; had a witness 
of higher .dignity been required, the 
Duke di Pallerini, (whose unsuccessful 
charge had been owing to the strict- 
ness of his honour, and had drawn on 
him the displeasure of his sovereign,) 


472r FATAL revenge; or, 

was now discharged from his obliga- 
tion to secrecy, and was ready to attest 
that he had recognized Orazio Count 
of Montorio ia the Confessor Schg- 




-The same 

That from your first of difference and decay 
Hath followed your sad steps——— 
'Twas no one else, all's cheerless, dark and deadly,. 


Te teneam mortens deficlente manu. Tibullus. 

And thy dear hand with, dying ardour press. 


Over a train of events so momentous^ 
so complicated, so mysterious, the judi- 
cial Court paused in total perplexity of 
judgment, in wonder which excluded 
decision. There was no precedent to 
direct them, no prescribed rule to apply 

474 FATAL revenge; or, 

to such an emergency, indignation was 
distracted by a diversity of depravity, 
and justice suspended by unresisted com- 

At first, the guilt was so obvious and 
enormous, that a sentence of unqualified 
severity was pronounced against all the 
criminals. At this dreadful intelligence 
the families of Amaldi and Alberotti, 
accompanied by the most distinguished 
of the nobility, hastened to the palace, 
and throwing themselves at the feet of 
the King, implored him not to bury in 
ruin and disgrace, a family whose high 
and extensive connections would dif- 
fuse mourning and consternation through 
Italy. Even the family of Verdoni ge- 
nerously pleaded for its enemy, and the 
Court was required to revise its sen- 

Ippolito and Annibal waked from their 
horrible dream, and found themselves, 
ixmrderers witliout the vindication of re-. 



sistless necessity, or the authority of 
divine commission. Tiiey were soou 
acquainted wnth the real agent and cause 
of their crime, and the diminished bur- 
then of parricide was the first impulse that 
gave motion or relief to their stupid and 
stagnated dejection. 

They sunk on their knees in gratitude* 
Before this period they had neither 
spoken nor moved, since their entrance 
within the walls of St. Elmo, except 
when the officers searching Annibal, 
found and attempted to take from him 
the picture of Ildefonsa, then he shrieked 
fearfully, and his convulsive resistance 
became so furious, that they were com« 
pelled to release it ; from that moment 
he satin the same posture, 
firmly with one hand, but apparently un- 
conscious of what he held. 

Ippolito emerged into reason fir-st; the 
officers of the prison, to whom the gene- 
ral impulse of strong compassion extend- 

476* FATAL revenge; Oft, 

ed, permitted the brotliers to meet with- 
out witnesses, or any of the vexatious 
restraints of confinements. On their first 
meeting, Ippolito's tears dropped on a 
vacant and insensible countenance; but 
in a short time Annibal appeared sensible 
of some pleasure from his brother's pre- 
sence, and held out the hand of silent 
kindness on his departure ; and at length, 
though slowly, recovered his faculties 

They were constantly together; frater- 
nal fondness brightened even the gloom 
of a prison and the terrors of guilt ; but 
they had many dark hours. Annibal, 
ruined in love as well as in hope and ex- 
istence, M'as the more dejected of the 
two, and the soothing remembrances of 
passion Mere darkened by the imminent 
horrors of incest. He had stronger mo- 
tives, mortal motives for his depression 
than Ippolito; the latter had consented 
to guilt in a convulsion of passion, the 



former from a conviction of reason, of 
reason, though perverted, strongly ex- 
erted. Ippolito, therefore, for the per- 
petration of the crime felt only ordinary 
compunction, while Annibafs was min- 
gled with a kind of gloomy disappoint- 
ment, that the supposed agent of heaven 
was only the victim of a monstrous illu- 

'* It was in one of those dreary con- 
ferences that melancholy seeks her solace 
and her food from, that the door of the 
apartment was thrown open, and a form 
glided in, so faint, so fragile, so hardly 
visible, that while Ippolito clasped it in 
his arms, he almost doubted the evidence 
of his touch. It was the face of Cyprian, 
but the form of a woman. '* I am no 
longer Cyprian," it murmured; *' Cy- 
prian was the guardian of your inno- 
cence, but for him there is no longer any 
employment: let me assume my original 
name and form, they are disastrous, and 
therefore are better suited to this hour. 

I am 


I am RosoUa di Valozzi, who loved you, 
who lived for you, whose last proof of 
most unhappy love is to die with you !" 

Ippolito wondered and believed. He 
held to his heart that rare and wonderous 
woman, who disguising her sex and ha* 
warding her Hfe, had quitted the convent 
where, in the anguish of love contending 
witli religion, she had assumed the veil, 
and entering into the family of ISlon- 
toiio, in the page had sustained the suf- 
ferings, without the hope, of love ; had 
devoted herself to the amelioration of 
Ippolito's mind and character, without 
the solace of being even known to him ; 
and now that all effort was fruitless, and 
all hope extinct, came, amid the horrors 
of a prison and the certainty of her own 
direful punishment, to obey the last im- 
pulse of love that was '^strong as death.'* 
In penitence for her apostacy, she had 
resolved to pursue her arduous task, un- 
cheered by the gratitude, unrepaid ])y 


THE Family of montorio. 479 

the affection of him for whom she toiled, 
and watched, and wept. She resolved 
never to disclose her sex or her name, or 
violate the purity of a vestal passion, by 
subsisting it on the grosser food of earthly 
love. Slie lived unknown, she wept un- 
pitied, she loved unrequited. 

'^ The only indulgence I allowed my- 
self," said she, '' was sometimes to read 
to you fragments that described the life 
and passion of a votarist of unhappy 
love. They were mif oxvn ; she whom I 
described as thus loving, and thus suf- 
fering, was myself. I could not refuse 
myself the compassion you sometimes 
gave to sufferings, of which the-^^ictim 
was so near and yet unknown ; I loved 
to feed sick fancy with sounds that could 
no longer excite guilty hope, or flatter 
desire ; I loved to hear myself bew^ailecl 
as dead, and triumph in the sad resolu- 
tion that sought only the solace of vain 
and posthumous pity." 


480 FATAL revenge; 0«l, 

Annibal now recognizing Rosolia, ask- 
ed an explanation of that mysterious night 
when she wept over the picture of Ilcle* 
fonsa, but could not disclose the fate of 
the original? *' Ildefonsa and I, " said Ro- 
solia, ^* were educated in the same con- 
vent; melancholy and enthusiasm endear-^ 
ed us to each other; she was the confi- 
dant of my fatal love, she was the assist- 
ant of my escape. When I saw you wor- 
shiping her picture, I endeavoured to dis- 
suade you from searching for her, for I 
believed by that time she had assumed 
the veil, and that your search was hope- 
less." — ** Would it had been so !" said 
Annibal retiring, but grasping the pic- 
ture still. ** But WE, my love," said 
Rosolia, "" we must have done with softer 
thoughts ; that time is gone by ; we are 
for the dark hour, for the valley of the 
shadow of death ! Oh ! if beyond that 
misty vacancy that spreads before us, 
some bright and peculiar world, some 



unearthly tract should be disclosed, Avhere 
no obstructions cold and dark shall mac 
the passion of immortals, where it will 
be no crime to lovef— *' Alas, my loveT* 
said Ippolito, ^*are these dreams of bliss 
for a murderer?"—*' Or for an apostate!" 
shrieked Rosolia. ^' Oh ! I have gone 
too far." They wept in each other's 
arms. *' I thought my last moment of 
weakness was past," said Rosolia; ''Oh! 
I feel thev will never cease while I o'aze 
on you. iNliglU I dare to say it ; surely 
I would say I have loved thee with an 
immortal love ; anguish, and fear, and 
disappointment, the death of love, it 
bore them all, it mocked at calamity, 
and it survives in death. Ippolito 1 Oh, 
Ippolito !" she cried, drowned in the 
luxury of sorrowful passion, " Oh, how 
I love you at this moment !" — '* But 
shall we indeed meet again, Rosolia?" 
said the sad Ippolito, '' shall we see each 
other with these eyes? shall I behold 
VOL. III. y vou 


you in that form again, and know it, 
Rosolia, or rather Cyprian, my better 
angel, my little benignant guardian, shall 
I know you in tliose bright worlds where 
all are so like what you would have been 
to me ?" — ** Oh ! those words recal me," 
said Rosolia, ^* these hours demand other 
thoughts, high, and solemn, and un- 
earthly. Kneel with me, my beloved, 
we are for the dark and awful conflict of 
the soul, for the depths of prostration 
and the strife of prayer ! Kneel with 
me, my beloved! I feel my strength will 
just support me till your pardon is assured 
by penitence, and your spirit is free as 
those that have never erred." 

They were about to kneel, and Anni- 
bal knelt too in his solitary recess, still 
holding to his wasted heart the picture 
of Ildefonsa, when Ippolito starting, 
caught Rosolia to his heart, and held 
her long and fervently. 

*' Let me/* said he, '' give this mo- 


Hient, this one moment to human thought, 
tills one tear to human remembrance ! 
Oh, Cyprian.! Cyprian 1 think of those 
times when happy and innocent'' — (his 
Voice v/as lost.) '* Oh ! think of some- 
tiiing unutterably fond and soft for this 
one moment, think of all that is rising 
in my heart this moment, tlvink human 
thoughts, and melt with mc in human 
sorrow, my love f my faithful love ! my 
fond, dying love!" he repeated, man- 
gling the tears and kisses of rapture and 
anguish, too sweet and bitter for words. 
The vestal struggled in vain with the 
madness of the moment. They remained 
locked in wild and speechless fondness. 
Annibal, lost in prayer, dared not to, 
look on them : he could not look on the 

At this moment the doors of the apart- 
ment unfolded, and the officer who pre- 
sided over that tower of the prison where 
the brothers were confined, entered with 
y 2 the 

48-^ FATAL revenge; ok, 

tlie air of a inan avIio is rejoiced to com- 
inun irate joy, and announced the altered 
sentence ot the court. Ippolito and 
Annibal were pardoned, but required to 
leave Italy for ever. Orazio, Count of 
Montorio, was doomed to death ; the 
estates, tlie castles, and the palaces of 
the family were confiscated, the title ex- 
tinguished and erased from the list of 
nobility, and the name forbidden to be 
revrved or borne within the territories of 

*' But his life is spared V cried Rosolia, 
sinking at Ippolito's feet. She was raised 
but to linger for a few days of resigned 
misery ; the shock of sudden joy had 
been .finally fatal to a frame worn to a 
shadow with strong emotion, and trem- 
bling with precarious existence. During 
this interval, she mentioned the harmless 
advantage she had taken of Ippolito's 
visionary temper in her introduction to 
h:n> ; it was her face that he beheld i-ii 



the glass, when drawing off her mask, 
she looketl over his shoulder. It was^ 
she, too, who alarmed hy his language 
at Naples, had sent the officers of justice 
to Muralto, not to apprehend, but to 
protect him from a danger she could not 
define. But these, and all other subjects 
of temporal consideration, vanished as 
her dying lu)ur drew nigh ; it drew nigh 
with darkness and doubt, her religious 
impressions awoke, and she dreaded that 
her mortal love had carried her too far. 
Yet still she clung to the sight and image 
of Ippoiito, and when she could no longer 
s^e, she extended her cold hand to him, 
even when she was no longer sensible of 
the pressui'e ; her lips still endeavoured 
to murmur his name, till sense, ancfi 
thought, and life were extinguished): 

^nd the victim of love was no more I 

* * * * * 

There was a different death-bed scene 

exhibited at the castle of Muralto. The 

y 3 officers 

486 FATAL revenge; oh, 

officers ofjustice, with decent reluctance^ 
proceeded to announce the demolition of 
the honours, the name, and the wealth 
of the house of Montorio to its surviving 
representaive. Thay were ushered intO' 
the sumptuous chamber, >vhere, amid 
her family who wept, her physicians who 
consulted, and priests M'ho prayed, the 
Countess lay extended on her bed, with 
death in her face, and a stern tranquil- 
lity on her brow. 

The officers, with many pauses, pro- 
nounced the sentence of the law. The 
Countess was silent. *^ Madonna," said- 
her confessor, *' do you hear what the 
. officers of justice have pronounced ?" — 
'* AVho is it that addresses me ?" said the 
Countess, ** It is your confessor," said- 
the priest. *' Has he forgotten that the 
Countess of Montario will be addressed* 
by no other title?" said she with a haugh- 
tiness of tone that contended with death. 
^' That title, Lady, is no longer yours,** 



said one of the officers. ** What does 
he say ?" said the Countess faintly. '* He 
tells you the truth,'* said the confessor 
with energy. ** Lady, it is a solemn- 
hour ; I adjure you to rccal your 
thoughts, and meditate rather your peace 
with heaven." — ** Your wealth and estates 
are confiscated,'' said a harsh and igno- 
rant priest; *' your palaces a4id youF 
pomp are levelled with the dust; your — " 
** And our name, our ^/V/e," said the 
Countess. There was a deep silence. 
** The name, the title of Montorio," she 
repeated, suddenly rising from her pil- 
low, her eyes darting fire> and her voice 
thrilling with the energy of passion* 
*' They are extinguished for ever," said 
one of the attendants. The Countess 
fell hack on the bed ; her face was con- 
cealed, but a convulsed and broken sound 
murmuring through the stillness of the 
chamber, announced the awful dissolu*- 
tion of guilty ambition. 


4SS FATAL rev^enge; oit, 

Since tlie hour of his confinement, the* 
Count Montorio had i)een allowed no re- 
mission, no indulgence. He had re- 
quired none; when the attendants entered 
his apartment, thej found him engaged 
in writing so deeply that he never raided' 
his head, or seemed sensible of their pre- 
sence. From the time it was finished, 
he appeared restless and agitated, but; 
still silent. The sentinel who watched 
at his door heard him pace his chamber 
all night ; but from the time that the 
final sentence of the court was known, 
he became profoundly still. 

His only request was to see his sons, 
and this was urged with su^h earnest and 
unceasing vdiemence, that at length it 
was accorded. The night previous to 
that appointed fpr his death, his sons 
were conducted to his apartment. The 
scene was solemn. The dsirk habits, the 
clank of chains^ the heavy tread of the 
armed sentinels, the cheerless and fune- 


real liglit of the torches, th.e riisli of sud- 
den motion breakhig on the silence of' 
night and a prison, and that hushed 
again, hushed by the pause of breathless 
jxission that followed, were impressed for 
ever on the minds of the witnesses. 

The children knelt to ask a blessing of 
their father, the wxetched father knelt to 
ask forgiveness of his children. Some* 
of the attendants wept aloud, and the 
sternest turned aside and veiled their 

During an interval of two hours not a 
coherent sentence was uttered, all were 
cries of mingled anguish, and sentences 
broken by bursts ; the sorrow of late 
and unavailing recognition lost in the 
deeper distress of inevitable separation. 
Orazio lacerated the feelings of his chil^- 
dren by perpetual prostrations, and the 
harrowing spectacle of paternal humilia- 
tion ; these, when they could not pre- 
vent, they partook, and sunk together 



with him on the ground, fron"^ which he 
could not. be raised. As the hour of 
separation, prolonged by cruel indul- 
gence, arrived, the distress grew more 
tcriibie; he would not be torn from his 
boys, on whom he called as be alternately 
embraced tbem in every sound in the 
compass of distress, from the smothered^ 
tremulous murmur that is lost in sobs, 
to the ceaseless, shapeless, maniac yeM 
of misery, that stuns the ear, and hears 
nothing but its own despair. The at- 
tendants faultering approached. M'^ith 
the shriek and grasp of a mother, he 
held his children to his breast, folding- 
bis mantle, and bending over them with 
tliC unconscious provision of fear. 

The sons, as they yet clung to the 
embraces of death, felt themselves bathed 
in their father's blood ! They recoiled ; 
liis agony had burst one of the larger 
vessels, and the blood gushed from his. 
mouth in torrents. Tbe prison eis were 



removed, the medical attendants of the 
prison were summoned, and the monks 
who assist and exhort the criminals has* 
tened to the chamber af the dying man, 
Ippolito and Annibal knelt at the door ; 
his broken and blood-stifled groans were 
fearful. They stopt their ears, and turned 
their asking faces to the attendants, who, 
horror-smote and dumb, quitted the 
apartment every moment. At length a 
priest who crossed himself came forth to 
order the bells of St. Elmo to toll, while 
he proceeded to the chapel to read the 
prayers for those who are in the agonies 
of death. The brothers grasped his habit, 
but they could not speak. *' Release 
2iie," said the monk, '^ I would pray; I 
have beheld a sight which has left me no 
power but of prayer." They held him 
still. '* When all is over,'* said he, 
moving from them, ** you will hear the 
toll of a bell that announces the sufferer 



for wliom we pray is no more." They 
listened ; all was still for a moment. 

A low and general murmur broke from 
tlie chamber of death. The bell tolled ; 
the brothers prostrated themselves, and 
prayed for the departing soul. The at- 
tendants passed out. '^ Did you hear 
the last words he uttered ?" said the go- 
vernor of St. Elmo to the principal con- 
fessor. ^^ I could not hear his confes- 
sion," said the priest. ** It was no con- 
fession," said the governor ; *' the words 
were, * The last of the Montorios has 
not perished on a scaffold.' " 

** Such," said the narrator, ^^ was the 
fall of the Montorio family, in whose 
fall the dispensation of a higher hand is 
visible to the most weak and limited eye. 
He who sought his own elevation, and 
the aggrandizement of his children, was 
defeated and destroyed by him whom he 



Iiad sacrificed to his ambitious wicked- 
ness. He who sought vengeance as atro- 
cious as the crime that provoked it, found 
it poured out on his own children ; and 
they who desired the knowledge of things 
concealed from man, found their pursuit 
accompanied by guilt, and terminated 
by misery and punishment. 

** Of the rest of the family there is 
little to be known ; the daughters entered 
into convents, and the sons into foreign 
service under assumed names ; but the 
unhappy men whose story I have related, 
were every where distinguished by their 
silent bravery, their solemn melancholy, 
their lovely affection for each other, and 
their reluctance to the societ v of women."